Each year in late October, when the first Christmas accessories start to pop-up in the supermarkets my resistance towards Christmas starts to build-up. And then it grows and grows and grows…
Slowly in November as the first Christmas songs hit the radio stations, and my daughters hum “Last Christmas” by Wham.
My daughters hum “Last Christmas”
Faster in December, when the schools, sports clubs, workplaces, and so forth arrange their Christmas events, while my wife and I also have to honor family traditions by baking my Grandmas (not-so-secret anymore) recipe for “Pebernoedder” (the BEST Christmas cookies in Denmark according to biased insiders 🙂 ), cooking traditional Christmas dishes, decorating the house, and of course buying all the Christmas presents that are needed in a large family.
When we get to December 20 I am exhausted, I long for sunshine, and there is nothing worse than listening to Wham – again…!
My resistance to Christmas is sky-high, but then Santa does his magic.
By December 24 in the evening (where we celebrate Christmas in Denmark) the Christmas feeling has sneaked in and broken down all my resistance. Suddenly, I love Christmas!
How Santa Succeeds Year After Year
Breaking down resistance and building support and engagement is the hardest part of any change or transformation program, so I thought it would be good learning if I could diagnose how Santa succeeds every year.
It would be good learning, if I could diagnose, how Santa succeeds every year
Here is my interpretation of how he does it!
The Game Plan of Santa
What happens late October and during November is that Santa gets his formal communication structures in place, and then he starts to market the Christmas feeling through them; It is the television channels, the radio channels, the supermarkets, and the shopping malls.
He even gets the elves mobilized to help him!
As if this is not enough he also displays the Christmas feeling publicly in all the above-mentioned places. You see him smile, you hear his “Ho, Ho, Ho”, and sometimes you even get to shake his hand.
You see him smile, you hear his “Ho, Ho, Ho”
Still, my resistance keeps growing.
I am not particularly impressed with Santa. I am not even sure I believe in him. “It is just a marketing trick, and wasn’t that red suit invented by Coca-Cola?”
So a lot of hassle – little effect!
The Trick of Santa
So how does Santa still manage to sneak in the Christmas feeling? Here comes the trick.
Santa knows who has the real influence out there… and it is not us adults! It is all about the children. They have all the informal influence.
He enters into dialogue with them, listen to what they want for Christmas, and slowly he earns their trust. A trust you can see as joy and happiness in their eyes when they talk about Christmas.
The children turn into the best ambassadors for Christmas
The children turn into the best ambassadors for the Christmas feeling – every night at the dinner table, and every morning at the breakfast table…
… and slowly Christmas starts to make sense to people like me as well…
Approximately by December 20 all the hassle suddenly makes sense, and I become a supporter of Christmas too.
So What is the Learning?
Santa knows that to persuade people like me to become supporters of Christmas, he needs to send in someone I really trust and care about. My children.
This works in corporate land as well
This works in corporate land as well. Just replace Santa with your top manager, the elves with the Change/Transformation team, and the children with the Hidden Influencers in your organization (see this post – 3% rule).
All of a sudden you can apply the tricks of Santa to your own organization.
I hope Santa, the elves, and the children will succeed with transferring the Christmas feeling to you as well – and that you will enjoy Christmas with the ones you care about the most.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all!