This article originally appeared in the March/April issue of Mailing Systems Technology.
Back in the late 1990s, I was promoted into a new role that required me to manage people who were domiciled around the country. One of the first things I thought about was how I could stay connected to these people in a way that inspired them and also let them know that I was thinking about them.
Motivational and Provocative
A few days into pondering some different options, I came across a book as I was unpacking my new office. The book, The Best of Success; A Treasury of Success Ideas, is 300-plus pages of quotes meant to motivate and provoke thought. It occurred to me at that moment that sending out a daily “thought for the day” to my team would be a great way to let them know that, in some small way, I was thinking of them.
For two years I would spend five or so minutes gleaning my book or searching the Internet for a quote that I “felt” that day. Sometimes I would pick one with a particular person on my recipient list in mind, sometimes it was to send a message, and sometimes it would be a thought that I needed that particular day.
Frequently, I would get a response back from someone – or some ones – letting me know that they needed an uplifting or relevant observation that day, or that it made them think about something in a different way or they just liked the thought.
Some days those responses would come from the people I intended to reach. Just as often, I received responses from someone else on the list.
The Thought of the Day Returns
Through the years, as I changed jobs and even companies, people would email me and ask if I would keep them on the quote-for-the-day email distribution. I found this fascinating because, in today’s age of technology, we have those sources of quotes tethered to ourselves via our mobile devices.
Well, after delivering thoughts for the better part of a decade, I abruptly stopped about a year and a half ago. But just recently, my company administered its employee engagement survey. Upon receiving individual departmental scores, company leaders were challenged with devising and executing an action plan to increase our scores. While I was brainstorming some possible items we could implement, one of my employees suggested bringing back the thought of the day. And so I did. And one of the first ones I sent was this:
“You must be willing to do the things today others don’t do in order to have the things tomorrow others won’t have.”
– Ohio-based motivational speaker Les Brown (not the swing-era bandleader)
Germane and Topical
As I reflected on Mr. Brown’s quote, it occurred to me how germane it is to our industry. We need our leaders in government, new and re-elected, to enact legislation for an industry that, according to the EMA Mailing Industry Job Study, 2015, is worth $1.4 trillion and employs more than 7.5 million people.
They Must Act
Our political leaders need to address the issues that will allow mailing and shipping costs to stay affordable. They need to allow the USPS to use the revenue garnered from the American public and the mailing and shipping community to enhance the infrastructure that produced the delivery of more than 750 million packages this past holiday season. This updated infrastructure would also include replacing decades-old vehicles for the hardworking women and men of the Postal Service, who drove more than 200 million miles during that same peak holiday season.
They need to connect the dots that the industry issues they keep kicking further down the road will affect future elections as the US mail plays a critical part in the American election process. Or, to slightly modify the quote above, “They must be willing to do things today others haven’t in order to ensure what we have today is there tomorrow.”