Monthly Archives: December 2010

Christmas inc

Around this time of the year I start to think about Santa Claus. Nothing unusual about that, I guess.  Nice senior guy, dressed for the part, managing his resources, sorting out his PR…….

Yes, being me I inevitably start dwelling on Father Christmas’ exceptional management skills……..

Mr Claus runs a vast empire, employing many (small) people, manufacturing, packaging and delivering an enormous quantity of goods, all done with a personal touch and in a timely and unique way with a really effective PR to back it up.

  • The goods are tailored specifically to each customer because he has taken the trouble to ask them what they want, remembers what they have had, and has kept an eye on their developments over the past year, even asking their bosses about their behaviours and trends.
  • He makes sure that his little customers know he is keeping an eye, and always asks for written requests where possible so that they have to think about it and write to him personally, so they remember him.
  • He has a very special and unique memorable image
  • Other organisations buy into his image because it also reflects well on them – this gives him even more publicity and opens up interactive relationships
  • Those little customers will continue to buy into him even when they are much much older, because his image and the warmth associated with him lingers on and is stimulated over and over again by the images he posts and the warmth he emanates, and the use of his image by those other organisations.
  • His enthusiasm and good natured chivvying keeps his army of employees motivated and busy
  • His reminders to them of the consequences of their activity keeps them focussed – how could they resist his smiling descriptions of the customers happy young faces when they open the goods?
  • And the need to get the job done on time is always clear, with the date writ large in their minds, and those of their little customers, so there is no confusion or debate about the timeline.
  • His descriptions of the consequences of NOT getting the job done are equally motivating……….those poor little disappointed faces…….
  • He ensures plenty of exercise and good hearty food for his workforce to keep up their energy and spirits
  • He make sure everyone knows what their own special job is, and that it is indeed special
  • He makes sure the Reindeer are well fed and happy
  • He takes a personal interest in the progress of the work, the arrangements for packaging and
  • Personally delivers every single one of the goods himself.
  • He also makes sure that his customers know he has visited and delivered personally by using specific feedback tools – in our house he always eats the carrot and drinks the whisky so we know it was him, because that was what he asked for.
  • He is the one that will be blamed and carry the can if anything goes wrong because he is the visible face – he “owns” the outcomes.
  • AND – his appearance always heralds a celebration and some good feelings for his customers.

In short, he has promoted himself and his organisation throughout the year with images and emotions that people will enjoy and remember; he has connected with his customers personally and uniquely; he reminds them that he knows them and cares about them; he looks after his workforce and motivates them with positive images but also makes sure they understand what they are doing and why and what will happen if they don’t complete; there is a clear timeline and action plan; he makes sure his workforce know that what they do matters; he lets his customers know about his personal interest in a fun and memorable way. And we all associate him and his organisation with fun and pleasure!!

I guess we could all use a little Father Christmas management style from time to time.

One last thing: if he is the Boss, he must sometimes have to do some of those things that make us mortals less popular, like sacking people, disciplining people, correcting work. But we never see that – it is done somewhere else out of sight, without showing people up, and without bringing down the mood of the workforce. There is a lesson there for some of us…………

Happy Christmas!!!

Happiness

Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting a few drops on yourself. Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Happiness, according to Rogets Thesaurus: A condition of supreme well-being and good spirits: beatitude, blessedness, bliss, cheer, cheerfulness, felicity, gladness, joy, joyfulness.

People are starting to wish me happiness, suddenly. After months of simple “hello” and ” how are you”, suddenly people I know only slightly are beginning to take an outward interest in how happy I am. Even the Government is doing it. “Happy Christmas”. “Happy New Year”. “Happy Holiday”. Happiness questionnaire. Happiness quotient.  How happy am I?

How happy are you?

What will the government do if it gets all its questionnaires back and the entire population is miserable? Prozac in the water alongside the fluoride? A free pass for all to a Ken Dodd gig? Mandatory Mock The Week for everyone over 18? Free tickling sticks and double rations of Christmas Cracker jokes in all crackers?

One of the things I  realised after using up my teens on some moodiness, depression and rebellion ( as well as the rather nice alternative teen-bits such as running away to Paris for a while (I had such a great time and I am still surprised I survived!), and discovering that I didn’t have to be fat  just because I might have been, once…)  was that my happiness was down to me. Being with a special person might create a happy feeling in me; riding horses, playing the piano, playing rugby, listening to Georges Brassens or Vivaldi, sewing, the smell of my baking bread, putting the first foot back on the soil where I feel comfortable – all of these made me feel happy when I was young and some still do. (The rugby is a non-starter now – age and size would leave me a lethal weapon on the rugby pitch these days….). But the point is, how did I know that these things created that feeling of well being? Well, clearly, I tried them out! That is how I found that I liked playing the banjo a couple of years ago, and painting pictures a few years before that.

One thing I know with certainty about the teams that I support is that the best way to create a happy team is to enable happy individuals, and that doesn’t happen by closing down their options and experiences. People who know that they can try out new stuff with support, as safely as possible, with a group of people behind them who will root for them, will succeed more often than they will fail – and will smile all the more for having tried whether they succeed or not. And the people behind them will smile, because, as Ralph Waldo Emerson so wisely implied, happiness breeds happiness. And one of the things that concerns me most about the Governments badly thought through ideas about financing education is that it will lead, as surely as my cat wakes me every morning before dawn, to a reduction in options, a paucity of degrees that open up minds rather than prepare one for commerce, a view of education as part of business rather than an entity in itself which feeds and nourishes the spirit, creates ideas and thoughts and teaches our minds to swell.  That would be a tragedy, and we must not stand by and let it happen.

And one last thought before I go – teams are all kinds of things: business groups, hospital wards, families, friends, neighbours, political allies, staff, colleagues, fellow musicians and band members, people in the same fat-club, golfing buddies………..look anywhere and you find a team. The happiness drive applies to them all………..

So, read, swim, ride horses, bake bread, learn a new language, play the fiddle,  look at the sky, smell the ocean, look with love on someone special, smile. Be happy, because by doing that you will do a great thing: you will breed happiness.

%d bloggers like this: