Christmas Links

24 December 2008 at 10:08 am 2 comments

images1| Peter Klein |

Rotman’s Roger Martin explains the challenges faced by Santa in the Knowledge Economy:

While he may have an indisputable track record of effectiveness, Santa is clearly an industrial-age leader. He is going to need to change his leadership style dramatically to prosper in the knowledge economy. His focus on the physical characteristics of his workers — e.g. Rudolph’s red nose — is “old world.” He just has to learn how to value and reward the brains and accumulated knowledge of his elves and reindeers for his enterprise to prosper in the new economy.

The problem with satire, however, is that some people don’t quite get the joke. Consider, for example, this book on leadership, the contents of which can be summarized thusly:

1. Build a wonderful workshop!

  • Make the MISSION the MAIN THING
  • Focus on your PEOPLE as well as your purpose
  • Let VALUES be your guide

2. Choose your reindeer wisely!

  • Hire TOUGH so you can manage EASY
  • PROMOTE the right ones….for the right reasons
  • Go for the DIVERSITY advantage

3. Make a list and check it twice!

  • PLAN your work
  • WORK your plan
  • Make the MOST of what you have

4. Listen to the Elves!

  • OPEN your ears to participation
  • PAY ATTENTION to how you’re perceived
  • Walk awhile in THEIR shoes

5. Get beyond the red wagons!

  • Help everyone accept the reality of CHANGE
  • Remember: The CUSTOMER is really in charge
  • TEACH “The Business” of the Business

6. Share the Milk and Cookies!

  • Help them see the difference THEY make
  • DO RIGHT by those who do right
  • Expand the reinforcement POSSIBILITIES

7. Find out who’s naughty and nice!

  • Confront performance problems…EARLY
  • COACH “The Majority in the Middle”
  • DON’T forget “The Super Stars”

8. Be Good for Goodness Sake!

  • Set the EXAMPLE
  • Establish GUIDELINES and accountability
  • Remember that EVERYTHING counts

Ebeneezer, where are you when we need you! Speaking of whom, don’t miss Michael Levin’s classic “In Defense of Scrooge.” His “Economics of Santa’s Workshop” raises some good questions too — how does Santa do it without money and prices? I also wonder about his compensation system, the allocation of decision rights, the kinds of performance metrics used. Can the elves exercise derived judgment? Somebody needs to write a paper on this.

Anyway, here at O&M we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a New Year filled with discriminating alignment, sustained competitive advantage, value maximization, opportunity exploitation, and whatever else your subjective preference ordering may desire.

Entry filed under: - Klein -, Management Theory.

Pomo Alert: New Management Journal Special Issues More New Blogs of Interest

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Rafe Champion  |  24 December 2008 at 9:26 pm

    In 2005 Santa topped the Forbes Rich List of cartoon characters “despite ongoing strife with Elvish labor force. Elves bemoan low-wages, lack of health care coverage and union-busting tactics of “Claws.” Factory operations also dogged by several documented instances of child-labor.”
    Subsequently Forbes removed Santa from the list of cartoon characters following a surge of complaints that he is real and not a cartoon character.

    Another link of interest is the long-running series on the “12 days of Christmas” list.
    “The seven swans a-swimming proved to be a driver of this year’s index, carrying the greatest weight with a whopping 33.3 percent increase due to their scarcity. True Loves will spend $5,600 this year for Swans compared with $4,200 in 2007, accounting for $1,400 of the $1,573 increase. The swans typically have the largest swings in price in the PNC CPI.”

  • 2. David Hoopes  |  25 December 2008 at 1:34 pm

    Arlo Guthrie: “Santa has a red suit he’s a communist. Long hair and a beard must be a pacifist. What’s in the pipe that he’s smoking?”

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