Myth or man, there is a lot we can learn from Jolly Old Saint Nick. That elf has some serious skills in the leadership department. We can learn from the old guy. Not so sure? Humbug you say!?! Well, pour some holiday cheer and see if these tips connect with you.
Make lists, check them, and check them again
You think Santa reviews the Naughty-Nice list just twice? I’m betting it was checking that list just twice that day. If you build lists (to do, project planning, checklists) you need to use them. Daily. A to do list you only review once a week or once a month isn’t much of productivity tool. You need to review your lists at least a few times a day to check in and make sure you have your priorities straight.
Reward your best customers
If you are on the Nice list you get a present under the tree. Naught list, coal (or reindeer poop as my aunt says). What about your nice customers? What do they get? Always make sure that your best customers know that you know how much they mean to you. Discounts, promotions, early access, even just an extra personal touch. All of these rewards build strong relations with existing customers who can help you forge relationships with new ones.
Hire experts to do the important work
Clearly those elves know something about making toys. Santa figured that out early on and has kept it up. If there is something essential to your business find the best people to do it and pay them well for doing it. There is no point in not hiring and training the best for your company. People outside your company should look at your employees and say they really know your business and are industry-leading experts.
Know people by name
On Dasher and Dancer and Donner and Blitzen… Santa knows that having a connection with your people is essential for them wanting to give their job their all. You think those reindeer would have pulled that heavy sleigh at near light-speed if all Santa said was “fly you stinking beasts, fly!” Yeah, I don’t think so either.
If you can’t get in through the front door, try another way in
I really don’t think Santa _wants_to go down chimneys. Really, don’t you think he’d rather just land on the nice flat street and come in the front door? But people lock their doors and there is the whole secrecy thing Santa has going on, so land on the roof and down the chimney he goes. When Santa had a challenge he found a unique way to make his entrance, so if you can’t get into a company or that introduction through the front door—look for the chimney.
Bonus: Always stop for milk and cookies
Reward yourself. Enjoy life. Have some cold milk and warm cookies. Santa paused to have a snack and still got things done, why can’t you?