Why common courtesy should be more common: four truths about saying thank you

Posted on August 8, 2019 by Di Gillett
Article image: Common courtesy thank you

In the dynamic, fast-paced world of business, sometimes common courtesy is not so common.

As veracious readers of daily news, be it about business, the economy or the geopolitical tensions between the US and China, on occasion it can be refreshing to read a piece that is pause for reflection.

In Thank You, Kindly, a recent article by Sally Susman, Executive Vice President & Chief Corporate Affairs Officer with Pfizer, published in WWD Beauty Inc, the author says:

“I’ve worked closely with nine chief executive officers at three Fortune 100 companies. Each of these high-achieving bosses had the prerequisite qualities of intelligence, diligence and integrity. But one had something unique. One taught me a profound lesson… I learned the power of expressing gratitude.” [1]

Reflecting on what she learned from Leonard A. Lauder, Chairman Emeritus of Estee Lauder, who she describes as an “elegant and thoughtful man”, Susman says Lauder educated her about everything from art and culture to commerce. However, it was a memorable meeting with one unnamed powerful magazine editor who barely acknowledged their presence, where Lauder demonstrated why “being gracious and kind is always in style.” He still wrote a thank you note.

If you subscribe to the magazine, Susman’s anecdotes in the article are an enjoyable read. From her time at Estee Lauder, she took up the practice of writing thank you notes (pen on paper), a ritual she has since continued (as well as the use of night cream).

Here are Sally Susman’s four truths about writing thank you notes, which I’ve summarised below:

  1. Be specific – be clear what your note is about
  2. Take time to reflect – speed doesn’t necessarily convey sincerity
  3. Make it matter – clarifying a point will have more impact than simply expressing your gratitude
  4. It’s never too late – if you realise you should have thanked someone, don’t hesitate to thank them now

Who would you like to thank?

1. WWD Beauty Inc Volume 214, No. 33 June 28, 2019

About Di Gillett

Di Gillett

Di Gillett is a Director of TRANSEARCH International Australia based in Melbourne. Di has over 25 years' experience in executive search and recruitment, including almost 10 years leading the Asia Pacific Retail & Consumer practice for Talent Partners. She was the founder and Managing Partner for Agora Partners from 2015 to 2017. Di's industry knowledge is underpinned by her earlier career on the client-side with two of Australia's leading retailers.

Di Gillett
TRANSEARCH International Australia
Level 7, 15 William Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
Tel: +61 3 9285 5800


One response to “Why common courtesy should be more common: four truths about saying thank you”

  1. Malcolm Deery says:


    Thanks for sharing the “thank you / gratitude” article, a great read.

    The significant value of gratitude is that to be grateful you have to be in the moment in the Now. Reflecting on yesterday or stressing about tomorrow are conditions we cannot influence. Now is the only point we have any influence over and to be grateful you have to be in the Now. Gratitude is the most powerful emotion we posses as it enriches our lives immediately and being grateful is within our control. For that I am grateful.

    Cheers Malcolm

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