5 Leadership Lessons from Santa

I recently wrote Santa and asked him for some leadership advice.  Think about it, he has a well known brand and he pays nothing for advertising.  Santa has a large staff and yet he has better security than any company or country.  NOTE: I’ve heard Wikileaks is offering large amounts of money to find out how he makes the toys with no visible sign of revenue, where his workshop is located and of course, how he delivers all the toys in one night.

To my surprise Santa called me today and shared the following advice.

Start with the organization

  • Publish a mission and develop a clear, concise and executable vision.
  • Values based organizations last the longest.
  • “People first, Mission Always”

Build the best team

  • “Finding the right talent isn’t easy, but the right talent can make your work easy.”
  • Mentor, train and groom for promotion.
  • Never discourage those who are different, instead see how you can use this to your advantage.  This is the “Rudolph Principle.”

Have a plan

  • Start with a strategy.
  • Plan and prepare.  There’s more than one list that’s he’s checking twice!
  • Rehearse the plan.  Each year there are new children in new locations.  It takes planning and rehearsals to ensure not one of them is missed.
  • Review the execution.  January 2nd each year is the day the team reviews the performance from the previous year and identifies improvements before beginning the plan for the current year.

Develop your own leadership style

  • Santa recommends being a positive leader.  There’s never been a riot at the North Pole.
  • Listen before you speak.  People are more likely to offer ideas that way.
  • Empower your team.  How do you think everything gets done while Santa is at the mall?
  • Set the example.  Demonstrate what you expect from others.
  • Decide in advance how to deal with those on the naughty list.  It’s harder than you think.
  • Inspire others.  Parents started giving gifts after Santa…not before.
  • Be decisive.  December 25th is a deadline!
  • Be consistent.  There are no favorite elves or reindeer.
  • Say Thank You
  • Don’t ask others to do what you won’t do yourself.  Delivering all those presents is not as much fun as you think.
  • Be positive (yes, he said it twice for a reason.  He never starts or ends on a negative note).

Accept change

  • Without change toys would still be made of wood.
  • Change with your customer.  There is a reason Santa is more popular than the Easter Bunny.
  • Innovation is part of change.

I closed by asking Santa if there is anything he wishes he did better.  He said he wishes he ate better and exercised more.

Have a great Christmas!

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