The holidays are full of tradition and are a time to gather with family and friends. But no matter if you are a parent or a child, everyone recognizes the big guy in the red suit – Santa Claus.
Business can learn a lot from Santa.
Santa is full of holiday spirit. He is always the life of the party. He’s jovial and always in a good mood. Santa is forever positive. If you think positively, you will be more inclined to speak positively. Your positive words will spur you to positive actions. If you get used to behaving in a positive way, you will form good habits. And your habits will help define the kind of person you are. That will lead you to your destiny: what you will eventually become as a person. Positive thinking has no negatives.
Santa’s charm is unquestioned. In a perfect world, a course on personality development should be part of a business school curriculum. Why? Because no matter how advanced our technology becomes, personal interaction often seals the deals. Charm is what you bring out in other people because you are genuinely interested. It’s a life lesson, not just a business strategy.
Santa has a great sense of humor. He appreciates a good story and has a jolly ho, ho, ho. He even laughs at his own jokes because he knows laughter is the best medicine. It makes people happy and links us together. Humor and laughter strengthen our immune system, boost our energy by destroying boredom, and keep stress at bay. A good sense of humor helps to overlook the unbecoming, understand the unconventional, tolerate the unpleasant, overcome the unexpected and outlast the unbearable.
Santa is a giver. He is active in every community because he is everywhere. We’ve all heard the old adage that you can’t buy happiness. Well, it turns out that’s not exactly true. You actually can buy happiness – when you spend your money or your time on others. A great way to feel happy is to help other people by getting involved in volunteer work that supports your community. During this traditional time for giving, organizations are clamoring for all kinds of help. Sharing precious time may seem burdensome, but the rewards are immeasurable.
Santa is a great listener. Whenever I see Santa in shopping centers, he is patiently listening to children tell him the same gift ideas over and over and over. Santa knows you can win more friends with your ears than your mouth. Listening is a critical skill in everyone’s life. Hearing is one of the body’s five senses, but listening is an art. Being a good listener can make or break a career. Your success could hinge on whether you have mastered the skill of listening.
Santa is kind. Kindness is one of the strongest of all virtues. When you are good to others, you are best to yourself. Kindness is the oil that takes the friction out of life. And the best part of all, everyone can be kind – if they decide to be. Kindness is not weakness. Quite the opposite, kindness demonstrates a basic decency and respect that reflects a willingness to get along even when you disagree.
Santa maintains great relationships with his customers. Even when he can’t deliver exactly what they order, he tries very hard to satisfy their wishes. It isn’t easy for his elves to make every item or fulfill every request, but he’ll never stop trying. And he has been known to offer options to soften the blow. Good salespeople know to do that too.
Santa treats everyone with dignity and respect. He is patient with crying babies and does his best to put frightened children at ease. Kids love Santa because he makes them feel important. A minutes-long encounter reinforces their faith in the goodness of people. In business, customers are much the same. They like to know that they are important and will be treated respectfully.
Santa always tells the truth. Sometimes Santa just can’t do what is asked of him, but he honestly explains that there are some things that even Santa can’t do. Businesses that are honest with their customers may disappoint briefly, but people appreciate that honesty.
And finally, Santa respects deadlines because he knows he has to satisfy his customers by Dec. 25.
Mackay’s Moral: Is your business naughty or nice? Learn from Santa.
Seven-time, New York Times best-selling author of "Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive," with two books among the top 15 inspirational business books of all time, according to the New York Times. He is one of America’s most popular and entertaining business speakers, and currently serves as Chairman at the MackayMitchell Envelope Company, one of the nation’s major envelope manufacturers, producing 25 million envelopes a day.
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