Seven ‘Leadership’ Lessons from Santa

Let’s face it, the fat guy in the red suit is one impressive leader. He never misses a beat, has expectations to meet that would cause even Zuma to step-down and he gets reindeer to fly. Which reminds me: do you know why Rudolph and Prancer were not sold at the auction? They were two deer.

Moving on to more serious stuff…Santa teaches us some valuable leadership lessons that we would do well to note in the months outside of the Christmas season.

Here then would be seven worthy of  your attention:

1.    He doesn’t seem to use the balanced scorecard. It is a simple ‘bad’ or ‘good’ – ‘naughty’ or ‘nice’. That’s it. That must save an awful lot of time and avoids any sort of confusion and ambiguity. You either make it or you don’t. Simple. The Big Guy clearly doesn’t have an HR department.
Santa relaxing2.    He gets reindeer to fly. That is one impressive feat. You most likely don’t have any reindeer to practice on but try it with your dogs and you will see it is no mean feat. I have had more, but still limited success, with cats however that is another story and one not fit for the telling in this season of goodwill and cheer. Still, some of your staff might fall into the ‘reindeer’ category and so try to get them to collaborate and fly during 2014 and you will soon appreciate just what Santa has achieved!
3.    He is the master delegator. This guy only really works one night a year and has an army of elves (come-on…who really believes in elves unless by elves you mean a whole lot of cheap Chinese labour tucked away in some dingy basement somewhere?) who do all the real work. Not only that but he then manages to get a whole lot of frauds to masquerade as him as they buy into his cause meaning even less work to do. All this means he gets to put his feet up for a lot longer and when you think about it he really does squat. Sounds like many a leader you know? On top of all this is his masterstroke – he manages to get the parents to buy all the gifts but he gets all the credit! It is a deception of Machiavellian proportions and one that deserves our admiration.
4.    His PR is great yet all he ever says is, ‘Ho, Ho, Ho’. You try getting up at your next AGM and making your keynote speech a ‘ho, ho, ho’ and see how well that goes down! Yet Santa pulls it off every year. Amazing! No speechwriter needed, no lines to learn, no anxiety that you will be misunderstood or misinterpreted. Ho, ho, ho…that’s it!
5.    He knows the secret of how to keep weight off. “Just hold on” I can hear you protest…”didn’t you just call this guy ‘fat”? Yes, you’re right, I did and he is but…when you consider the amount of cookies and milk he consumes, to be the size he is, well is nothing short of incredible! He should be ten times larger around his girth. He should need a team of elephants to fly him round the globe! So, there is something he is not sharing and in spite of scouring the Internet I can’t find any diet tips that he is putting out. Future business opportunity perhaps?
6.    Diversity doesn’t seem to be an issue for him. Along with that is his total disregard for political correctness. I mean this guy just does his thing regardless of whom he offends. Santa is Santa, like him or not. He doesn’t seem the least bit phased by public opinion and yet in spite of this, has few, if any enemies. Maybe wearing a red suit is the trick, or perhaps that benevolent grandfatherly look he perfects, I don’t know. You can try it if you want but don’t pin it on me if it fails to impress and people throw things at you.
7.    He is never alarmed. He gets into high security homes and never sets the alarms off or gets the dogs going. I mean how does he do that? Hopefully this is one secret of his that remains a secret as we have enough crime in South Africa without having to deal with Santa copycat robberies springing up all over the suburbs. Still it is a trait that could serve many a leader well especially when needing to fly under the radar or disappear undetected for whatever reason.

Here’s to a wonderful Christmas and may your scorecard read, ‘nice’. If not, well there is always next year because the one thing we know for sure…the guy in the red suit will be back. On that score the Terminator has nothing on Santa!

Merry Christmas!

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