Monthly Archives: December 2011

‘Jingle Bell’ Blizzard

My favorite Christmas memory started out like any other Christmas with excitement and anticipation, I could not wait to go home. Home for me is a ranch in western Montana; I often tell people when they ask where I grew up, that I am a real live Avon lady. I grew up in the small ranching community on a ranch nestled in a valley, at the base of Luke Mountain.

It was a time when we had ‘big time’ winters in Montana; winters where the snow was plowed so deep it often blocked the view from our car windows.  It was one of those winters, it was Christmas Eve, and I was 3 months pregnant with my son Ross. My husband Alvin and I were going to tell the family on Christmas day, I could not wait, I was so excited.

The ranch is a mile and a half off the main highway and the road sometimes blew shut. I called the ranch to see how the road was as the last couple of days it had been snowing and drifting. They told us not to drive up the road and they (my brothers and sisters) would come meet us with a team and sleigh after they had finished feeding the cows. The county road had not been plowed yet.

I could hear the bells as they approached, it was early afternoon my brothers and sisters Jim, Joyce, Joe and Kathy came to greet us on a sleigh pulled by a team of horses adorned in ‘Jingle Bells.’ They had finished feeding and were in good spirits as they pulled up singing songs and laughing and joking. My brother John was also there but he was on a snowmobile. He helped us load some groceries and gifts and then made two gleeful laps around us and was off to the ranch to watch some football where my other sister Janet was cooking Christmas goodies.

The snow was glistening like a million tiny diamonds as we headed down the sunny path but  that was about to change. When we reached the first corner in the road the sky started to turn angry. Storms can come over the western mountain in a hurry and surprised you, just as they did this day. The clouds turned black and rushed into the sunlit sky. By the time we were half way down the long stretch of road we were right in the middle of a full fledged blizzard.

Snow blowing, wind howling, can’t see in front of your face. The horses stopped pulling into the force of the storm, so Jim and Joe took turns leading them forward; the pull was hard into that wall of snow and wind. Packages blew away, we could not hear each other talk; we motioned to each other at one point wondering if we should turn the sleigh over and shield ourselves from the front. We pushed on in silent, making our way from one telephone pole to the next (they lined the road) as we edged our way down the road, praying and believing we would make it home.

Meanwhile back at the ranch Janet and John had no clue we were in trouble. The ranch as it nestled in the valley at the bottom of the mountain was protected from the storm and they were experiencing only snowfall. Besides, the game was on and they were not too worried about us thinking we out playing in the snow. But as time went by, it took over 2 ½ hours to go that mile, they started to wonder about us and John searched and found us at the top of the hill cheers went up, we were almost home.

We ended up being snowed in till the day after Christmas. It was awesome. We met my mom on the road the next day with the sleigh. She brought the turkey for dinner. It was a great Christmas.

Isn’t it wonderful, that certain memories of home and Christmas seem to stick with us forever? Never had home looked so good.   The sound of everyone in the house, the smells of the holiday; fresh cut Christmas tree and fresh bake bread, or the sight of Christmas lights on the tree and the glow that shows through the windows just at dusk. It felt a like heaven; faith, family, friends, home.

DoWIT: BELIEVE

  • Blizzards Happen: Always be prepared
  • Don’t Give Up: DoWIT, Whatever It Takes
  • Tell Them You Love Them: You never know what tomorrow will bring
  • Be Thankful: Always for blessings, faith, family, friends
  • Have a very Merry Christmas
Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Inspiration

Be Good For Goodness Sake

How To Get Big Things Done In Your “Workshop”….All Year Long

Are you feeling the tug on values, leadership, and common sense in your workshops? Good news, please accept this gift with helpful tips as told in the leadership secrets of Sana Claus. I came upon this little book with big ideas that entertained and shared some great insights as to the business mind of Santa.  Excerpts adapted from Innovative Leadership by David Cotrell as told through Santa. Take a moment and enJoy.

It’s Not Easy Being Santa Claus

Believe you me, having a smile and be jolly every day when you’re wearing the same thick, hot, red-wool is no picnic.

This is a job that will definitely strain your sanity and drain your ego if you let it. Seems like everyone wants a piece of me. Yet many people I serve question mu existence…or just plain don’t believe in me at all. And those who do believe often expect me to do the impossible-rarely caring about what all I have to do, or go through, to meet their expectations. And they all have expectations!

Give people exactly what they want. And Ho, Ho, Ho, everybody loves good Ol’ Santa. But miss one or two items on the list, and you’d better be ready for the alligator tears, the fat jokes, and the “I could do Santa’s job better than Santa” remarks. It’s not easy being me!

There’s no doubt that my biggest challenge comes from two roles that people rarely associate with the red –cheeked, bag carrying sleigh driver: Santa the MANAGER and Santa the LEADER.

I am, after all, running a business here. I am boss. I have responsibilities-both the gift-getters and the gift –makers. There are workers to lead, orders to fill, processes to manage, stuff to buy, stuff to make, standards to maintain, new techniques to adapt, skills to develop, elf problems to solve, and reindeer droppings to scoop(although I delegate that one). Trust me; I’ve got some big and not so easy fitting boots to fill.

Like most managers, I have to deal with marketplace fluctuations (Dear Santa, I thought I wanted that, but now I want this.”) And I have seen more than my share of budget cuts, technology advancements, increasing demands for higher quality and better service, fluctuations in the economy, competing priorities, and a whole lot more. Whew!

Think you job is tough? Try recruiting in, and for, the North Pole. You try retooling your plant and retaining your people every year to produce the newest fad toys. You try delivering tons of presents on a route as big as mine-all in one night.

No, it’s not easy being Santa Claus. But is spite of it I love what I do. People need me…they depend on me. We’re doing something important here. And knowing that gives me the energy to carry the slack, lead the pack, and keep coming back.

By now, you may be wondering how I meet all these challenges and responsibilities…how I manage to bring everyone and everything together to complete our mission. Some people think I use magic, there’s no magic about it.

So, if it’s not magic, what is my secret? Actually there are eight of them-eight practical strategies for leading others and getting big things done all year long. There called “The Leadership Secrets of Santa Claus,” and I wish to share them with you.

Santa

Leadership Secrets of Santa Claus

By David Cortell

  1. Build a Wonderful Workshop
    1. Make the mission the main thing.
    2. Focus on the people as well as your mission
    3. Let values be your guide
  2. Choose Your Reindeer Wisely
    1. Hire tough so you can manage easy
    2. Go for the diversity advantage
  3. Make a List & Check It Twice
    1. Plan your work
    2. Work your plan
    3. Make the most of what you have
  4. Listen To The Elves
    1. Open your ears to participation
    2. Pay attention to how you are perceived
    3. Walk awhile in their shoes
  5. Get Beyond The Red Wagons
    1. Help everyone get the reality of change
    2.  Remember the customer really is in charge
  6. Share the Milk and Cookies
    1. Help everyone see the differences they make
    2. Do right by those that do right
    3. Expand and reinforce the possibilities
  7. Find Out Who’s Naughty and Nice
    1. Confront performance problems early
    2. Coach the “majority in the middle”
    3. Don’t forget the “Super Stars”
  8. Be Good For Goodness Sake
    1. Set an example
    2. Establish guidelines and accountabilities
    3. Remember that everything counts! 

DoWIT: LEAD

  • All Year: Getting things done all year long isn’t about magic, its leadership
  • Santa’s Leadership Gift :
    • Throw it in the back of some closet and never think of again
    • Use, appreciate, and enJoy,
    • Look for ways to pass along the favor to others.

1 Comment

Filed under Marketing