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A toxic work culture was saved by this old school technique

I still write letters. Yep. On paper, with a pen. And thank-you notes. Because my grandmother told me to.

There’s just no substitute for the written word, especially words of praise, gratitude, and encouragement.

Yes, the pen is mightier than the sword! And it can do wonders for your team culture.

That's why I was delighted to discover in “Campbell’s Finds the Soup for Their Soul,” a recent Teamistry episode, that one of the main techniques the leadership team used to rescue the company’s ruined morale was personal note-writing. Notes with sincere messages to employees – nothing canned or phony – for a job well done.

Former CEO Douglas Conant, the person responsible for the company’s big turnaround, said: "I would develop a practice of writing 10 to 20 notes celebrating contributions of significance with everyday employees. And I did that six days a week for a decade. And we did the math with a calculator at my desk and we said, ‘My god. I sent out over 30,000 notes to Campbell employees.’ We only had 20,000 employees.”

In this spirit, we made some cards for you. Use them to jump start a note-writing era on your team and in your organization. Download and print (examples below) and find even more ideas (in editable PDF form) in "extras."

Give ‘em a try, and tell us about your experiences!

(How to use: right-click and save image. Open file in preview. Click pen-in-circle icon to the left of search box. Edit your image, save, and send. Or, head over to the "extras" page and use the editable PDF versions.)


Screen Shot 2021-08-05 at 12.02.51 PM.pngScreen Shot 2021-08-05 at 12.03.06 PM.pngScreen Shot 2021-08-05 at 12.03.18 PM.pngScreen Shot 2021-08-05 at 12.03.32 PM.png


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@Jamey Austin and @Kristen Roth I want in on this, too! See below.

Hey there 2 - Teamistry.png

Proud notecard - Teamistry.png

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Nice one. I'd forgotten about the handwritten cards Ive received in the past and how much they meant to me. Far more than the emailed / public awards type recognition.

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Jack Brickey Community Leader Aug 06, 2021

Very nice article and reminder.


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G subramanyam Community Leader Aug 07, 2021

Hi @Jamey Austin this method is really cool, where we use greeting cards to show our appreciation and display emotions. These cards remind me those greeting/ wish cards. Thank you for bringing back those old school memories and sharing colourful cards as a cue to re-energize team.

I have shared these cards to my team members and waiting for them to fill in.


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Sajit Nair Community Leader Aug 08, 2021

wow, definitely going to try this out with my team. Thanks @Jamey Austin 

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nina_schmidt Community Leader Aug 10, 2021

Love the idea - thanks for Sharing @Jamey Austin 

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Love this, borrowing these :)

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Fadoua Community Leader Sep 25, 2021

In one of my previous jobs we had recognition cards that we could give each other for good work. In my actual job, any internal praise gets automatically turned into a $25 Amazon Gift Card.

I personally appreciate nice notes from my coworkers. They always make my day.

Thank you for sharing!



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Fabian Lim Community Leader Oct 04, 2021

Thanks for sharing. This is a great idea.

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M Amine Community Leader Nov 22, 2021

Excellent @Jamey Austin 


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