The Inside Christmas Stories From Lapland HQ…

  • Elves job security is still a huge talking point. The cancelling of Christmas rumour is seen by most as a wild exaggeration although cut backs cannot be ruled out. Present lists are still as long as usual but there is far more parental scribbling out, even expletives next to some present requests. Elves redundancy rules have not been used for some time, but on the last in first out principle any Elf with less than 743 years service could be at risk.
  • GAFGOI (Grottos Are Fake Get Over It) is again working hard to prevent false FCs duping children. As usual, faulty presents will be delivered to all humans who have impersonated The Great One.
  • Much celebrated at The Christmas launch party on Dec 1st. was the news that FC’s annual diet has gone well, so much so He believes 17% more chimneys have become available to him as preferred method of entry.
  • To meet WWL (Winter Wonder Land) emissions targets, The Sledge’s power plant will be totally carbon neutral through the fitting of a methane gas conversion to all engine exhausts. This will also increase power output by at least 10 BRP. FC is also delighted because for the first time whilst driving he doesn’t have to wear a gas mask under his beard.
  • Our intelligence services drone spy aircraft (disguised as birds) are picking up kitchen gossip that reindeer carrots and sherry treats will be severely cut back this year. Their representative Rudolph commented, ‘my members rely on tips as part of their wages, so don’t expect to see much shiny noses this year
  • Toy Factory number 1 is now producing The Fat Cat (not so) cuddly toy, with expressions to order. The cat that got the cream is the least popular version and will be discontinued; the cat that swallowed a wasp whilst coping with the Norovirus expression is the biggest request.
  • Finally, negotiations continue with the other Great One’s representatives about a concordat on the real meaning of Christmas. This is an ongoing process that makes little progress. Every year the same debate, Lapland making the case for presents and jollity the other side for spiritual reflection and helping others. Our idea of a ‘one present solution’ with a Retuning Messiah in Box gift set, delivered to every home has again been rejected as ‘unworkable’.

Eleven Things Effective Leaders Do…

They do nothing particularly difficult or sophisticated, but they are effective in creating value in their role through focusing on certain behaviours and activities that make all the difference.


Effective Leaders…

  1. Work at making sure their influence exceeds their levels of authority.
  2. Motivate those around them to change things
  3. Inhabit the mind of the customer
  4. Learn about the future, try to make the present work better and avoid being constrained by the past
  5. Are more of a coach less of a manager
  6. Constantly increase their knowledge, both directly and indirectly applicable.
  7. Feed and weed their personal networks
  8. Build talent around themselves
  9. Increase their skills before it’s a critical requirement
  10. Take their work really seriously but not themselves
  11. Maintain a sense of humility. Success is temporary failure is permanent

How many yes answers could you give yourself?

7 Ways To Manage In A Recession – Christmas Stylee

Rather than the usual stuff about managing in a recession we thought we’d give you a different perspective based on many business peoples secret Christmas wish list.
The Best Way To Motivate Staff
Threaten all the negative people if they don’t shape up you’ll fire them on Christmas Eve. And be clear, firing will continue until morale improves.

Ditch The Grievance Procedure
If you have a problem don’t whinge, get over it. If it’s serious, offer to step outside and sort it once and for all.

Reject Difficult Customers
Tell them to stick it, life’s too short. We might go bust but we’ll go bust with our heads up.

Increase Debt
Remember a small debt is your problem, a huge debt is the bank’s problem. See the British economy for more background on this point.

Spend Cash
We know we should be conserving the Wonga, but its soooo boring. January can look after itself, enjoy!

Spend All Day On The Internet
This isn’t a new idea, but I did hear that if enough people in our company constantly visited Facebook, YouTube and Google we would crash our IT system and be sent home early!

Start Fantasy Forecasting
Uprate all forecasts by 30% and publish. For 24 hours everyone will feel wonderful and the world will be a happier place.

Get Hammered At The Office Christmas Party
A few people need telling, the boss especially, and there’s somebody new in the office who is very easy on the eye……..
Happy Christmas!

Managing Effectively In Challenging Times

We all know the saying…’when the going gets tough the tough gets going’. Well, what does that actually mean in ways that are practical and relevant in today’s difficult economy?


1. Focus on the fundamentals. As a manager that means applying your time to the most value adding activities wherever possible. Sitting in long meetings with no tangible outcome would not rate highly, nor would spending hours checking others work. Managers achieve results through other people, so engage with those people in ways that make them perform more effectively.

2. That would include coaching. Focused, guided practice will enable somebody else to perform better, making people consciously competent means they reduce the actions that impair performance and increase the ones that create additional levels of effective output.

3. A manager needs to create the environment for people to give their best. That means being interested in behaviour. The single biggest reason why managers don’t talk about behaviour is because they aren’t able to articulate wrong and right behaviour clearly enough, which perhaps says something about their own? Having a clear behavioural framework linked to organisational values creates a platform to build sustainable high performance upon..

4. Make sure you have a clear performance management system (that connects with all performers, not just the poor ones), including a consequences model. In difficult times you want people to be accountable, that means there must be differentiated outcomes for people, depending on how they perform and behave.

5. Stress and worry drive out creativity and innovation. Challenging times call for new approaches, flexible working and original thinking. However, for people to ‘switch on’ those thought patterns they need to feel involved and emotionally committed to the task in hand. That means the organisation (and manager) they work for has got to stimulate enough motivation in them to want to make a difference. A manager who can help people find meaning in their work will create higher levels of morale and performance.

6. Managers  lead by example. This doesn’t mean they do others peoples’ jobs or can do everybody elses role. What it does mean is through the quality on their work and the effort they put in other people are prepared to follow them. As the world class US fabrics company WL Gore (where hierarchy is minimal and ‘tell management’ doesn’t work at all) puts it, if you call a meeting amongst your peers and they repeatedly turn up, you are a leader.

These six areas of focus are based on the ground we cover in our Fundamentals Of Management training programme.

Are You A Contagious Manager?

On the commute into work each morning it’s now the norm to read or hear depressing news about the economy, about jobs and about the stock market. We’ve come to grips with new words and phrases like LIBOR, credit crunch, contagion and sub-prime. Nationalisation is back, and not in a way that anyone expected.
It’s therefore not surprising that some people are coming into work feeling a little down, worried about their own situations and those of friends and family. When those worried people meet worried colleagues, a cycle of misery can ensue.

The temptation for managers at times like these is to tell people to pull their socks up, get on with their work, work harder, work for longer, after all, there’s a recession on, and people could lose their jobs. This approach is not a proven formula for success. The respected Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania has recently completed research showing that employees who are in a negative frame of mind, and worrying about matters beyond their control, perform less well than those who have a positive approach to what they can achieve.
Leaders who can inspire their employees will succeed in a downturn as well as a boom. A stump speech about how wonderful everything is will not do the trick. At times like these people will look for authenticity and integrity, and that means having leaders who genuinely believe they will make a difference and that they can pull through a recession. Many people in today’s workforce will not have experienced a downturn as an employee, and it can be scary, older heads who have not only seen and survived recessions but come out stronger can send out a positive message.

Before you join in a water cooler conversation about how things are in the economy and how that affects your business, give some thought about how contagious you are. If people look to you to set the tone, then you are a leader, make sure the tone you set is a constructive one.

To find out more about how you can be an effective manager in a tough business climate check out our  Fundamentals Of Management Course