Lessons from An 84-Year-Old

My 84-year-old mother-in-law asked me, ‘Please can you come over and help organise my computer files?’ I replied, ‘Of course, my pleasure. I’ll be over tomorrow about 1:15–1:30.’
At 2:00, she rang. ‘Yes, I’m on my way, I’m sorry I was a bit delayed. Be right there,’ I said, feeling guilty as hell. The job wouldn’t have taken fifteen minutes, but I got tea, muffins and a profusion of thanks. It was no effort at all really.
Later that afternoon, while on the office phone, my cell rang. It went to my voicemail. My mother-in-law had left a message to say thank you once again. My initial reaction was, ‘Gee, she really didn’t have to do that. And a cellphone call to boot!’ Ten minutes later, it dawned on me how lovely it was. I really appreciated that little extra that she had done – it made me feel special.
How different this was from my experience of sending out over seventy hand-written cards with a gift of my just-published book to a group of clients the previous month. While I expected nothing in return, it still floored me that I only received two thank-you emails from the seventy.
Now, I know an 84-year-old grandmother has far more time on her hands than you or I. We have so much to do with the 101 calls on our time. I suggest that by making time, you’ll reap a greater business reward. You’ll have happier clients who feel more appreciated. You’ll make better networking connections. You’ll have beeter word of mouth and referrals. Will you be a leader or will you simply be one of the pack, who has no time for the equivalent of good manners in business?