For the fifth time since the Forever Stamps were introduced in 2007, postage rates have increased.  Today rates on a first class letter increased to 46 cents each and postcards are now 33 cents.  The Post Office claims that the decrease in mail volume necessitates the increase.  

I have also noticed the rapidly increasing cost of greeting cards.  Someone just sent me a card and it cost $3.99.  An ordinary birthday card is over $3.00 in most cases, so with tax and stamps it is now pushing five bucks to send well wishes.  No wonder people are opting for Twitter or Facebook or email or other more economical methods of spreading the love.

It seems that the Post Office and Hallmark and others in the “snail mail” business are caught in a vicious spiral.  The more volume goes down, the more rates need to go up to justify the staffing levels and overhead  — yet the more the cost increases the more free alternatives become appealing.  

I am a Platinum member of the Hallmark frequent buyer program (and would have similar status if the P.O. awarded it for individual mailers).  Yet even I am hesitating before I send greetings as frequently as I have in the past.

Is there a failure loop in your organization?  Can you view things differently to incentivize instead of penalize the people and behaviors you wish to promote? Think about your cost structure and how you can manage it to reward your best clients.  Just plan on it costing you more if you send your love by mail!

— beth triplett

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

Dr. beth triplett is the owner of leadership dots, offering coaching, training and consulting for new supervisors. She also shares daily lessons on her leadershipdots blog. Her work is based on the leadership dots philosophy that change happens through the intentional connecting of small steps in the short term to the big picture in the long term.

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