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March 11, 2005

Excerpts: Naked Truth #62

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 1:43 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

Naked Truth #62 Send thank-you notes (can be email for little kindnesses) and condolence notes (always handwritten).
My mistakes in the manners area nag at me because they are so avoidable. An early introduction to serving on a board of directors began with a mistake. While I ran Sunset, a man identifying himself as the founder of The Territory Ahead catalog asked me for a meeting. Thinking he was a potential advertiser, I agreed. We had a very pleasant conversation, and then he told me the real reason for the visit: Dick Munro, former Time Inc. Chairman, had recommended me as a board member who could help in his dealings with his partner Lands End, a much larger firm, based on my success doing that with Time. Though I was attracted to this opportunity, the companyof which I am still a happy customerwas based in Santa Barbara, and I couldnt bear the idea of the prop-jet I would need to fly on to attend meetings. I declined the invitation. The mistake was that I never wrote to Dick Munro to thank him for the flattering thought; not only was it bad manners, it was bad business. Needless to say, he never referred another board opportunity to me, and I dont blame him. Dick, if you are reading this, please forgive my slip. All board opportunities are welcome.