If you’re anything like me, the passing of the holiday season sometimes is a blur. When you think about it, we spend a great deal of the year preparing for one day that seems to come and go very quickly. Now comes the task of ripping down decorations without damaging the walls and sweeping the house clean of all those darn pine needles. Of course I personally honor the true meaning and spirit of the holidays as an opportunity to show love and cheer to the community. The pageantry and commercialism we see around this time of the year is enough to turn anyone off to the whole thing. But here we are, on the other side of another flurry.
As I gear up for another year I often review the business practices of successful individuals as a guideline for myself. I’ve done this for a number of years and have gone over the lives of some of the greats. This year, I had the urge to check out an obscure success story that seems to happen every year right under our noses.
Old Saint Nick was my muse this time around. This guy seems to labor, research and develop products all year long. He has invested in the right systems and staff to pull off the biggest logistical nightmare imaginable. His branding is impeccable, his standards are high and his customers are satisfied. But the question is, what can we learn from Mr. Santa Claus?
• The brand is everything: This is the only business that when mentioned, has no hesitation of falling short. When you speak to anyone about Santa, he has developed a brand so powerful, we believe without any wavering. From childhood, we just somehow knew the big guy would come through and make our dreams come true. As we move forward, let’s take a page from Santa and create an assurance to our customers that we will deliver every time.
• Create viable checks and balances: As the infamous song goes, “He’s making a list and checking it twice.” Often we are relying on a dull memory instead of a sharp pencil. Creating lists for daily, weekly and even long term plans is a way to inspire accountability in your life. A dream is just a dream until you write it down. Maybe the difference between an average year and an incredible one is the discipline we place on ourselves. Lists are a great way to get the ball rolling.
• Recruit the right staff to communicate the message: If you know anything about the jolly one himself, you know he has two types of employees: elves and reindeer. Two different rolls, both equally vital. Elves are what I call ‘morale boosters’. These are the folks in your circle who inspire a culture of joy and pride in the workplace. Reindeer have the organizational charge to deliver all that has been promised. They have the stamina and work ethic to do the heavy lifting. Without them, you’re just a fancy logo with no substance.
I love to imagine that early January brings Santa Claus and his family the opportunity to lounge in some fair weather island and recuperate from a demanding Christmas run. The thought remains how successful you and I would have to be to pull off a massive task like that year after year. Santa makes great business icons as Rockefeller, Morgan, Jobs, Gates and the likes pale in comparison. So there must be a lesson here to learn. As we transition into another year, we can make a deeper commitment to our passions. Maybe it is getting to know your customers personally or implementing a better system of operation. Whatever it is, I’m sure Santa Claus will be a source of inspiration. And remember, ‘be good for goodness sake’.