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Archived Posts from this Category
I’ve just been listening to messages from Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Patrick Donahoe, Postmaster General/CEO talking about the state of the US Postal Service. It’s sad news.
Senator McCaskill said that hearts were breaking in her state as 167 post offices are scheduled to close; most of those post offices in counties of 50,000 or fewer residents. And she recommended a solution.
Patrick Donahoe was explaining to USPS employees that the USPS has lost 26% of its first class mail, their most profitable business, and that this shrinking of the first class mail is the major issue resulting in the post office closures and employee cutbacks.
Last week in a television interview, the Senator asked a question and supplied an answer that caused my e-mail to buzz and shake as friends couldn’t wait to tell me, “She’s talking about just what you’ve been talking about for years! You should contact her right away!”
The Senator said, “I am not sure there has been a marketing campaign about the value of a written letter. I really believe that if someone would begin to market the value of sending a letter to someone you love; you might be surprised on how you could stabilize the first class mail.”
As my dear readers know, Make Mom Happy By Mail, the blog and the book, have been recommending just that for the past five years. From the moment I asked my mom what I could do to be a better daughter and she replied, “Just send me more mail.” I have been extolling the virtues of mail to all who would listen. And I’ve reminded them that many elderly folks don’t have, and don’t want, e-mail. They want something to hold in their hand, something to read again and again, something to brag to a friend about.
For two and a half years following Mom’s simple request for more mail, I sent her something by mail several days each week. Post cards, pictures, magazine articles, candy, books, dog toys, flower petals, and yes, even letters found their way into her big country mailbox out by the gravel road in St. Joe, Arkansas.
We called this our “Make Mom Happy By Mail” campaign. And she told me time and time again that it did just that. It also made me happy to be able to bring interesting things into her life and to discuss them with her. It made our relationship stronger, closer and more fun until the day she died. Happily, it has done the same thing for countless others across the US and from France to Japan, as they heard about our Make Mom Happy By Mail campaign and tried it for themselves.
As Senator McCaskill suggested, “…. if everyone with a living elderly relative or friend would send just one piece of first class mail to them each week, we might be surprised how we could stabilize the first class mail.” This could result in increased revenues, fewer closed post offices and more stable jobs for those not ready to retire. Something as simple as a letter could make such a difference to so many people in so many ways.
I urge you to start your own “Make Someone Happy by Mail Campaign” today for five reasons.
Shake up the world – do something big – send something by mail today.
Here’s an excerpt from the interview.
As all coaches know, it’s a wonderful moment when someone tells you you’ve changed their life.
A few years ago, I wrote a column for Businessweek.com called Managing Up: Your Parents. I described meeting a woman, Trudy Triner, who had used the concept of “FeedForward” in a very personal way. After hearing me speak at a conference, she asked her colleagues at work what she could do to be a better team member and her employees what she could do to be a better manager. Then she asked her mother: “What can I do to be a better daughter?”
When I met Trudy a few months later at a conference in San Francisco, she told me that question changed her life in a wonderful way. I’ve told her story at hundreds of programs since then and was happy to learn more of her story, which I want to share with all of you.
MG: Trudy, tell us about your mom and what you learned when you asked her what you could do to be a better daughter.
Trudy: First, thank you for your part in what was a wonderful life-altering experience. You helped make the last years of her life very happy. Here’s what happened.
My mom was in her early 80s, lived alone in rural Arkansas, down a country road almost a mile from her nearest neighbor. She wasn’t in the best of health, but she was spunky, loved her life, and was determined to stay independent. The high point of her day was going to get her mail, which came to a big country mailbox by the road. She walked almost a quarter of a mile to get there. There were no sidewalks, so getting there took a lot of effort, and she wore an emergency alert necklace, just in case she should fall.
When I asked her what I could do to be a better daughter, she simply said, “Send me more mail. When I walk all the way out to the mailbox and there’s nothing there, I feel sad.”
I have to tell you, the thought of her looking into an empty mailbox day after day broke my heart. I hugged her and told her I’d do better.