Operating from a remote location at the North Pole, Santa serves billions of customers around the world. He oversees a fleet of delivery animals (eight +1 to be exact), has a factory that produces all sorts of toys and he supervises an unruly production team of elves that would make any HR department’s head spin. Then, on Christmas Eve, in what most would describe as a logistics nightmare Santa guides his reindeer around the world dodging all sorts of air traffic. In 24 hours he delivers exactly the right gift to the right household arriving when everyone is asleep, shuffling down a chimney or in a door and gone before anyone awakes. Each year toys change, families change, even the destinations change. How does he do it?
- Santa sets goals: Santa’s goal is to ensure that all the boys and girls get exactly what they want for Christmas. The goals are specific / measurable / actionable / realistic (for Santa) and timely. Leaders set goals!
- Santa has a strategic plan: Santa spends 364 days planning so he can execute with high precision one night a year. Santa doesn’t “Wing it” In a study outlining what distinguished managers from leaders – leaders spent 1/3 more time planning.
- Santa’s strategy is flexible: Goals don’t change even if circumstances do. On a foggy Christmas eve Santa rotated Rudolf in to guide his sleigh. Leaders do the right things to accomplish goals. They are not held hostage by rigid plans.
- Allocation of resources: Santa’s organization is very small and resources are scarce; he uses resources wisely to get just the right gift. Leaders make the tough resource allocation decisions – that’s what strategy is!
- Involve others: Santa can’t do it alone. He enlists the help of parents around the world to understand who’s been naughty or nice. Leaders communicate their strategy and enlist the help of others to achieve their goals.
- Santa delivers: Santa has never missed a Christmas delivery yet. Research shows leaders over reach their goals by 117%.
So this Holiday season as you decorate your house or see Christmas lights while you’re out on the street – think about next year – think about Santa and build a strategy. Ho Ho Ho