Some Inspirational Reading/Viewing for Christmas

For one of the most effective lessons in tactical leadership you’ll ever experience, use your Christmas holiday to either read the book or watch the DVD box set of Band of Brothers. Historian Stephen Ambrose and co-producer Steven Spielberg follow the US 101st Airborne Division’s “Easy” E-Company from initial training through D-Day and across Holland, Belgium, Germany and Austria until the end of the war.

This true story gives a leadership master class in demonstrating the following:

    1. Leadership is about action not position. It is about leading by example and doing things rather than pontificating, procrastinating or passing the buck.
    2. Putting the welfare of your people before your personal well being. This is becoming a very rare characteristic in the self serving, self promoting world of many organisations.
    3. Integrity. There is a line real leaders won’t cross, regardless of personal safety, career advancement or loss of popularity.
    4. Using personal values to inform the way you treat people. The golden rule is a good start. Treat others as you would expect to be treated.
    5. Breaking (bad) rules. To know how to spot the difference see points 3 and 4.
    6. Understanding that power confers responsibilities not privileges.
    7. Being a role model for your team. Never asking them to do something you either don’t or wouldn’t do yourself.


The strength of this leadership produces some very positive benefits, phenomenal loyalty to your colleagues, great team spirit, and a real feeling of togetherness and mutual support.

Not only is it a great business coaching tool but also personally inspiring. Highly recommended.



Performance Management At Christmas

How come Christmas always works? The answer is Father Christmas’s Performance Management System is built on fundamental best practice principles.


Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Built around SMART objectives, right present, right person, right house, right day. Right first time with just in time delivery..

Critical Success Factors (CSFs)
All activities tested against fit for purpose model, Lean techniques applied, no waste processes, with a high ownership culture and fantastic work rate in the production and delivery teams. Bureaucracy kept to a minimum, still happy with verbal orders, red tape only used for gift enhancement purposes.

Behavioural Mind Set
A rigorous recruitment and selection criteria means a belief in the art of the possible is a critical requirement. A very flat structure, although still little transferable skills between human(ish) and animal teams. A positive approach to flexible working is essential. Clock watchers welcome.

Strong Consequences Model
The whole of the rating scale is used, from tears of joy to unmitigated misery. Forced distribution is also used, mandating most outcomes must come in the positive rating sectors. Job for eternity on offer, a job for life considered an unrealistic expectation.

Real Time, Accurate Management Information
Precise long range forecasting with allowances for short term adjustments built into system. Immediate positive feedback given, some negative feedback takes longer to filter through. Persistent problems with budgeting mean cost overruns are common although these are never allowed to impact on future year’s investment decisions.
Father Christmas and his team remain true world class performers.

To find out how to become a world class performer contact us.

What We’re Reading: The Secret Life Of The Corporate Jester

With Christmas fast approaching we find ourselves at crowded dinner tables talking and laughing with friends and family. Just as at work we have expectations of people in our social circles. There’s the worried ones who constantly express concerns about everything going smoothly, the capable ones making sure that everything does, the good humour people ensuring that everyone is getting along well and enjoying themselves, the responsible ones carefully clearing up after the others and the freeloaders who simply show up and expect everything to fall into place around them.
We tend to have expectations of people and it’s hard to shake them off. It’s just as true of colleagues that we’ve worked with for years as it is of family members who we still treat in the same way as we have for a decade or two.

Sometimes it’s fun to throw someone new into the holiday dinner mix, an outsider with no preconceptions. It may cause some discomfort, and there may even be hostility, but outsiders can often see the current reality which is hidden from the usual suspects. Just like the little boy who didn’t know the background who notices that the emperor is in fact in the altogether, an incomer has the ability to ask the naïve questions and cut to the chase.

In historic courts saying the wrong thing to the king could have fatal consequences, courtiers and top advisors trod a careful line, ensuring that they played the political game to their best advantage. Telling the king that he was wrong, or even that he needed to keep an eye on a certain area of his domain because of unrest, was often out of the question if you wanted to keep your head. To ensure that their feet remained close to the ground kings and noblemen often employed Jesters. Whilst part of the role was to dance merrily and play the fool, another key role was to lightly poke fun at errors and softly introduce areas where things may be going wrong through good humour.

The same is true in organisations. People who have been working together for a long time, and who have been working on specific projects for a while can work in ways that even they would consider strange if they stopped for a moment to look at them, it just takes a gentle nudge delivered with charm and positivity to make them realise.

Look out for family jesters over the Christmas break, and if you need any help upping your Jester quotient in the New Year contact us.

Can I Say Ho Ho Ho?

The case of Gillian Gibbons, the British schoolteacher convicted and pardoned in Sudan for insulting religion has caused debate about what does cause offence, and the intent behind it.
Cases like the trainee Santa’s in Adelaide warned not to say Ho Ho Ho to avoid offending women tend to make headlines as ‘Political Correctness Gone Mad’. Yet there’s a world of difference between deliberately being offensive, accidentally causing offence, and slow news day stories such as replacing Christmas with Winterval. People who want to celebrate Christmas, Diwali, Eid al-Fitr, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Three Kings’ Day want to do so because it has a personal and cultural significance for them which can’t be replaced by a synthetic holiday designed not to cause offence to anyone.

Over cautious rulings can cause confusion and resentment in the workplace where employees are so worried that someone will take offence or take out a grievance against them that they worry about saying anything at all. This gets to be a problem where organisations start to treat people unfairly to avoid causing offense, or to avoid risking a discrimination claim.

Discussing issues such as race, sex, religion, health, orientation, family commitments and dress sense can fill people with fear, but in order to have a fair, healthy, diverse and happy workplace these real issues need real consideration. Avoiding them altogether is a recipe for causing the offence and unfair discrimination people aim to avoid.

In order to create a workplace where people feel equally valued and respected, having an open and honest discussion about diversity, language and discrimination is critical. When someone wishes you a happy, or indeed, merry Christmas this year go ahead ad thank them for their wishes, and “and the same to you” if you’d like to, or even “happy holidays” if you feel more comfortable with that, unless you’d rather they had a miserable break in which case, it really is better to say nothing at all.