3 Lessons from Santa

Karl R. LaPan, President & CEO, The NIIC

Tis the season to learn from Santa. The jolly man in red is preparing the sleigh, checking his list, and Norad will soon be tracking his movements and magical journey around the world. With Christmas sneaking up on all of us, I got to thinking about how Santa and his elves can teach entrepreneurs a lesson or two.

1. Cultural diversity can drive growth. 

Santa knows this. After all, he knows how to connect with little boys and girls around the world on Christmas morning and leave a lasting impression. And so can you! As the world becomes smaller so to speak, geographical borders become less relevant. That’s why it’s critical to have insight from a culturally diverse and savvy team. Some ideas just won’t translate well into other markets. Someone who’s culturally in tune can help you prevent a failure or a false start down the road.

2. Make continuous innovation part of your organizational DNA. 

It’s no small feat to deliver all of the world’s gifts in a single night. No doubt Santa sets some performance goals for his elves and has a clear vision and path to success. I imagine his team of elves learned a lot through trial and error. I am sure they have found ways over the years to streamline processes. As a business owner, how receptive and open are you to new ideas? Do you always approach challenges with divergent thinking skills? How attentive to the details of your operation are you?

3. Know when to take breaks. Old St. Nick has a demanding job, yet he knows how to kick it into low gear after the holiday.

I hear he and Mrs. Claus have a time share in Florida where they go to recharge and relax. You as a business owner should follow suit. Entrepreneurs are notorious for working crazy hours and burning themselves out.  This is no way to live long term. It puts a strain on your mental and physical health. Paying attention to your energy level and refueling is essential. Studies have found that taking a vacation can boost creativity and productivity. You owe it to yourself and your business.

So, Santa is famous for providing feedback and rewards (presents or coal). He accomplishes this through the “naughty or nice list.” As you self-assess your performance this year, where does your performance fall – presents or coal?

Season’s Greetings. Happy Holidays and of course, Merry Christmas!


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