How to get big things done in your “workshop” all year long

February 9, 2009


I was responsible for the next installment of the HMA book club.  I chose The Leadership Secrets of Santa Claus.  I know, it is a little late (or early) to be thinking of Santa, but he had some pretty good things to say about leadership.

The overarching message of the book is that effective leaders accomplish “big things” by giving clear goals, solid accountabilities, and ongoing feedback, coaching and recognition. 

Here are eight other nuggets that all leaders should remember:


  1. Build a Wonderful Workshop – manage things and lead people
    1. Make the mission the main thing
    2. Focus on your people as well as your purpose
    3. Let values be your guide


  1. Choose Your Reindeer Wisely – staffing is Santa’s single most important responsibility
    1. Hire tough so you can manage easy
    2. Promote the right ones for the right reasons
    3. Go for the diversity advantage – not just the same pointed ears and green suits


  1. Make a List and Check it Twice
    1. Plan your work – what, why, when, where, who and how
    2. Work your plan
    3. Make the most of what you have – time, money, materials and equipment, talent and expertise


  1. Listen to the Elves
    1. Open your ears to participation
    2. Pay attention to how you are perceived
    3. Walk awhile in their shoes


  1. Get Beyond the Red Wagon – the only constant in life and in business is CHANGE
    1. Help everyone accept the reality of change
    2. Remember – the customer is really in charge – no customers equals no business
    3. Teach “the business” of the business


  1. Share the Milk and Cookies cookies20and20milk
    1. Help them see the difference they make
    2. Do right by those who do right
    3. Expand the reinforcement possibilities


  1. Find Out Who’s Naughty and Nice
    1. Confront performance problems … early
    2. Coach “the majority in the middle”
    3. Don’t forget the “superstars”


  1. Be Good for Goodness Sake
    1. Set the example – model the behavior you expect from others
    2. Establish guidelines and accountability
    3. Remember that everything counts

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