I wouldn’t be where I am today without having had a lot of help from a lot of wonderful people. Knowing this to be absolutely true, I make sure I give praise where praise it due, and say thank you to those who’ve helped me along the way.
And I feel the nicest and most sincere way to do this is through hand-written thank-you notes.
Richard Branson writing a letter
We send out hundreds of thank-you cards every year to members of the Virgin family. Each year we send birthday cards and gifts to all of our wonderful staff who work with us in our family office in London and New York.
It’s a small but lovely way to say thank you for all the hard work they have done across the year. We send special thank-you cards to our V-Timers – people that have been with us for five, 10, 15 and 20 years – too.
Birthday card to Virgin staff from Richard Branson and family
As well as sending out cards, we also love to throw thank-you parties – I can’t think of a more fun or Virgin way to show appreciation. We host a year-long initiative called Virgin Stars, which encourages our people to shout out about the amazing work their colleagues have been doing. From those nominated, one Star from each company is invited to London – many flying in from all over the world – for the party of the year (and I've never missed one!).
When I was growing up, my parents drummed into me the importance of being polite, and especially saying thank you. It takes half a second, but can make all the difference. Making an effort to say thanks in a genuine, personal manner goes a long way. It is pleasurable to do, and it encourages more of the same good behaviour. Those two little words can be magic.
Being thankful in the workplace is particularly important. As all good leaders know, letting their teams know they appreciate their work can make all the difference to an employee's confidence, morale and wellbeing. And being thankful in every day life can open up the door to meaningful relationships, which can lead to remarkable collaborations.
When was the last time you sincerely thanked someone? How did you do it? I’d like to hear about your experience in the comments below.