Another Lesson in "Thinking Like A Woman"

09-08-2009 3:43 PM

After 20 years of running the company she founded, Mary Kay Ash set down to compile the traits that she thought had made her company so successful.  That "list" was published in 1984, as Mary Kay on People Management.  An updated version was released in 2008, under the title The Mary Kay Way.  One of the many traits that she relied on for her success in business was her woman's intuition, and a caring, nurturing spirit, and she was pleased that she had proved wrong the many who had criticized her for "thinking like a woman."

In the introduction to that book, Mary Kay says, "Throughout this book I discuss the specific ways in which women do think differently from men.  Such differences are in no way inferior to or incompatible with 'the way a man thinks.' And so one of my objectives in founding Mary Kay was to create a business atmosphere in which 'thinking like a woman' would not be a liability.  In my Company those special sensitivities and talents often labeled 'women's intuition' would be nurtured -- not stifled."

One of the first things I learned of when I came to the company more than 25 years ago, was that each week, a "care bulletin" was created and sent to Mary Kay.  This "care bulletin" was a list of women in our independent sales force who were very ill or in the hospital, had family members who were hospitalized or recently diagnosed with disease, had just given birth or were newly married, or had a family member pass away.  In other words, those "life events" that cause us to reach out to those people that we care about to offer condolences, get well wishes or congratulations.  Each week, when she received the list, Mary Kay Ash made it a priority that each woman on the list received a personal note from her, reminding her of how important she was to us and that we were thinking of her and her family.  Back then, I think we had about 120,000 Independent Beauty Consultants in the United States.

Today, there are 600,000 women in our U.S. sales force, and each week the care bulletin is created, just like it was back then.  Since Mary Kay Ash is no longer with us, our executive team sees to it that each woman on the list receives a personal note from one of us.  I'll have to admit that in this day and time I don't send many hand-written notes or letters, except for these.  I know they are quite rare in this e-mail, text message, Facebook, Twitter world we live in, and I think that, perhaps, that makes them even more special.  I never really thought that much about the form of the note being that important, I was always focused more on the message.  Until today.

Today, I received a letter from a beauty consultant in Georgia that I had sent a note to in August when I learned through the care bulletin that both she and her husband  were injured in an automobile accident.  I have copied the contents of her letter below:

Dear Rhonda:

I received your letter and it certainly made my day and lifted my spirit.  I appreciate you taking the time out of your busy schedule to write me a personal hand written letter!  Wow, you sure know how to make a consultant feel special!

Truly, you all are my family; I honestly feel the warmth and concern.  Thank you so much!  My heart is forever touched!

We are recovering well and we will make a complete come back!

In spite of my pain, I am determined to make it!  We are so happy to be a part of the Mary Kay family.  I know I have challenges ahead of me, but, somehow, the pain just does not seem to be so bad when you have a family that truly cares.

May the blessings of the Lord be upon each of you always.

With sincere thanks,

Cheryl Roberson


You see, Mary Kay Ash knew the impact of a personal, handwritten note.  She made them an important part of her company, and I'm so thankful that today they are still just as important.  Another day at the office for me, and another warm, fuzzy reminder of why this company is so special.

(Note to self:  write more hand-written notes. Will you join me?)