Are you in a 24 / 7 Merry Christmas mindset?


Or are you a Grinch? Yes, Virginia, you have a choice to make every day.

You can talk about leadership, culture, disruption, or any other unicorn, but it is the mindset of every person that will determine success or defeat.

Let’s start with a quick review of the season. Christmas is Jesus’ birthday. Full stop. Now, you can choose to believe this or not, and I will never force you to. I have my beliefs and you can have yours. Do you put up a holiday tree or a Christmas tree? What do you put under your holiday tree? Holiday presents? After spending a lot of money and ballooning your credit card balance, you will suffer from the post-Christmas blues. Or maybe the holiday blues?

You made a choice. And there are results to the choices that you make.

The concept of choices and their related outcomes is something that we deal with each day as individuals in our home life and in the companies where we work.

Do you arrive early or slightly late for work? I used to be so late in University that my friends had to tell me the arrival time was 30 minutes earlier than it really was. KST – Kist Standard Time. This was kind of funny until a senior executive that I was meeting with commented that being even a few minutes late means the person you are meeting with isn’t as important as you are. That really caused me to think about others first. What do you do when you have a meeting? Are you prepped? Are you running in late? Do you still check your phone as you walk in…3 minutes late?

Our MacKay CEO Forum has a tenet that Nancy uses – we start and end on time. Perfect!

What about your level of effort each and every day? No sports comparisons here because the season for any sport is not a full year, like full-time jobs are. I will say that it bothers me when highly paid athletes talk in the post-game media scrum that they “just didn’t have it today.” Really? What about the fans that worked 40 hours a week for many weeks to be able to afford that one ticket to be entertained by your athletic prowess. And you “didn’t have it today?” What do you think your boss would say if that was your excuse for not doing a full day’s work?

If one employee gets away with lousy effort, then others may try. And then the organization is in deep trouble. Customers also have a choice and if employee’s poor efforts drive a customer to consider a different provider, then the organization may not survive.

I believe it is even worse when the leader exhibits poor behaviour. And Boards should be held responsible for supporting the leader during their tenure.

What is going to happen to the Boards of Nissan and CBS? Probably nothing, yet they supported truly reprehensible behaviour by the CEOs.

Am I being a Grinch? Nope, but people who make these types of decisions certainly are. And the CEO’s selfish, egotistical, “above the law” behaviour can affect the lives of hundreds or thousands of employees who come to work everyday and perform to the best of their abilities.

Most of the time it is not the employee that causes the business to be closed or sold off for pennies on the dollar. A truly fascinating read is “Why Smart Executives Fail,” by Sydney Finkelstein, Professor at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business. He originally asked “How can so many people be so disastrously wrong? What can possibly account for the scores of business failures we see each year, in different industries, and even in different countries? And how can we prevent this sort of thing from happening again?” Six years of research led him to publish the book in 2004. And yet Nissan and CBS were uncovered this year. Apparently certain people didn’t read the book and let their ego get in the way.

The recipe to be Merry 24 X 7 is quite simple:

  • Care for yourself first (it is why the airlines tell you to put your oxygen mask on first so you can then take care of others)
  • Care for others with the resources you have (not everyone can afford large financial contributions to worthwhile charities or community activities. Everyone does have their time and talents to provide instead)
  • Care about doing the right thing (doing things right is good, only if you are doing the right things. It makes no sense to keep doing the wrong or evil thing)
  • Care about the people who count on you (this can be your family, your friends, your co-workers, or your customers. It also means you shouldn’t be zipping around a vehicle that is turning left just so you make it through the light – I saw too many near misses on increasingly slippery roads today)
  • Care about your choices of how you react to situations that may not go your way (if you don’t become the new sales manager, why waste your time being bitter? Do a better job, be challenging to yourself and help serve your customers better. I am quite certain that this level of effort will be appropriately noticed in a positive way. If you choose to be a Grinch, you might be looking for a new job)

Think about your resolutions and the corresponding actions for the future (not just for 2019). Have fun and live.

Merry Christmas to all! 

About the Author
Tim Kist is a Certified Management Consultant (CMC), whose certification was obtained through a combination of experience, examination and continuous professional development. With over 20 years of senior industry management, combined with nearly 8 years in management consulting with national firms, Tim brings together extensive experience, objectivity, and front line leadership. As a national athlete and current university football coach, Tim lives and understands the evaluation, preparation and game planning required for successful high level individual and team performance. He has successfully brought this coaching approach to his work teams throughout his leadership career. Read More

A version of this post was first published here.