On Leadership and Santa Claus, CEO

Be Wise, Prioritize!Have you ever run into a leader who had no daily strategy; no plan; no focus; and no idea how to approach getting organized at all?

Yeah, me too…

Working without a strategy is like setting sail across the Atlantic Ocean with no charts (or GPS) and no idea what your destination looks like, and no sense of how long it will take.

Here’s a Secret from Kringle…

A few years ago, I was surprised to receive a book in the mail called, The Leadership Secrets of Santa Clause, by Eric Harvey, David Cottrell, Al Lucia, and Mike Hourigan (Walk the Talk).

My first thought was, “okay, cute gimmick,” and I quickly stuck it on the book shelf. It sat there for a year or so before I finally cracked it open. Once I started looking through it though, I realized the basis of the book, and that is this:

No matter who you are, you are running a business (department, etc.).

And because of this, there are certain things that you must do in your leadership role no matter where you are. You must prioritize  and navigate.

Track Santa in 2011 Here!

North Pole, Inc.

Santa is no different from any other “CEO” (. . . well, maybe he is a little different.) But as far as leadership goes, he has the same types of problems and issues as we do.

So what does the big guy do to get everything done on time and within budgetary constraints?

He follows simple, but effective strategies. One of Santa’s eight leadership strategies is this:

Make a list and check it twice.

Sound familiar?  This is one of the most basic things that leaders need to do, yet something that often gets overlooked.

To Do Lists

The first thing Santa has bulleted under Making the Most of Time is this:

“Prioritize tasks (do the most important things first) and use “to do” lists to organize daily activities.”

  • Lists are goals and strategies; you have to put them into perspective
  • Prioritize your tasks from most important to least important
  • Once you have taken the time to prioritize, stick to the list
  • And remember, you made the list for a reason

Santa has been around for years . . . and years. He has seen leaders come and go over hundred’s of years. Just remember what he says – “plan your work and work your plan”.

A Modern Look

Lets take a look at a different perspective with something a little more current. I saw writer/speaker Larry Winget for the first time on FoxBusiness’s Happy Hour program. I was immediately intrigued by his attitude towards business life.

He writes/talks about business in a straight forward, to-the-point manner.

It is said of him that he

“…tells the truth and doesn’t give a damn if you like it or not.”

The first book of his that I read was called, It’s Called Work for a Reason. I found a fantastic idea in the first few pages. In his book Winget suggests that you get rid of your “Things to Do” list and replace it with a “Things That Have to Get Done” list.

Are you getting everything delivered on time like Santa Claus? If not, then ask yourself this:

How many times have you taken time to make a “to do” list and only partially gotten any of it actually completed?


Herein lies the problem with the typical lists.

According to Winget:

  • Your “to do” list is nothing more than a wish list
  • Your “Things That Have to Get Done” list is more focused and concise; it acts as an action plan for your day

The second list has a more psychological effect on how you approach your priorities and plans of execution. Lists that you make up of things that you need to accomplish are part of your time management. By making a list you hope to be able to accomplish more.

But if you’re constantly only getting bits and pieces done, you’re not really accomplishing anything. It is time-consuming to manage time.

Winget says that:

“Everyone should forget about managing time and should instead focus on managing priorities. When the right things get done, time takes care of itself.”

Focus on what has to get done, not what should get done or would be nice to get done.

Roy E. Disney once said that:

“When priorities are clear, decision-making is easy.” Set the right priorities and everything else follows.

How is your strategy working for really getting things done like Santa? Do you make lists? Are you checking them twice for what really is important? How do you prioritize? Or, do you prioritize? I would love to hear your thoughts!


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Andy Uskavitch is Leadership Development at Florida Blood Services
He develops and facilitates Leadership, Motivation & Teambuilding Seminars
Email | LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Blog |  (727) 568-5433

Image Sources:  Adapted from barbaracolebythesea.com


4 responses to “On Leadership and Santa Claus, CEO

  1. I liked this book, too. Simple, but a lot of leadership truth within. That Santa must be a good boss. Not sure why we don’t see his organization on the Forbes list of great places to work. Maybe, they are still trying to get accurate research stats. I hear those elves are a tight lipped bunch. And, the reindeer? Fugetaboutit!!!


  2. Pingback: Lead Like Santa: 6 Immutable Principles | Linked 2 Leadership·

  3. Pingback: Lead Like Santa: 6 Immutable Principles | Training Course Central·

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