Yes, Christmas is coming, and the turkey – and possibly us, if we don’t watch the Christmas party canapés – are getting fat! And being the silly season, it is extremely tempting to just let things slide and say to ourselves ‘it’s fine – I’ll think about the hard stuff in January. A little bit of laxity won’t hurt – it’s Christmas after all! Now where’s that champagne…’
The trouble is, even though Christmas comes but once a year, the effect of letting good business practices – and perhaps even more importantly, good staff members – fall by the wayside can be a hangover for a corporate lifetime.
There is an easy solution though; the equivalent of a Berocca for the business brain before heading out for yet another round of pre-Chrissie cocktails.
There is definitely no harm in taking time out in December and enjoying all that the season has to offer. If you are like me, you have worked damn hard this year and you deserve to reap the rewards. But your business needs to stay on track, and an integral part of your business is your team and your work practices. Your team needs to be recognised and rewarded. They also need to stay focussed. Without their continuing hard work – and obviously they want to enjoy all that December has to offer too! – your carefully built up business plan will falter into 2013 and beyond.
So – balance. Make sure that you have strategies in place to ensure that staffing levels are maintained and workflow is such that January and beyond are not going to be negatively impacted. At the same time, make sure that your people know how much you appreciate them. Make it a point to take each person aside individually and express your gratitude. And do it appropriately – not after a couple of glasses of Sauv Blanc at your fabulous work party! Make it clear that this is not part of their formal yearly or half-yearly review, but simply your personal thanks for how hard they are working and stressing your appreciation for their continuing efforts throughout December.
Ensure you have contingency plans for ‘sick’ staff members close to the Christmas shut-down period. Because it does and will happen.
Cover yourself in December. Make sure you are kind to your body – and your mind. Use the time as wisely as you can. As tempting as it is to simply be as frantic as possible – buying gifts, preparing for visitors, attending functions, doing everything at once and being everything to everyone – when it comes down to it, you are the most important person to you.
Make yourself a personal Advent Calendar. On it, mark out something each day that will help you in balancing your December in terms of your business planning. For example, December 2 – ensure that insurance is in place for 2013. If you break it down, it isn’t so daunting, and it is spaced out evenly across the month.
Oh… and make sure that on the last day of that calendar, the little box has a very special entry:
GIFT FOR ME. FROM ME.
What use is the silly season if not to be just a little bit… well… silly?