santaDo you believe in Santa Claus?Whether you ever did – or still do – there’s something about the jolly old elf that wise businesses should consider emulating if they want to establish a year-round aura of good will. Santa has a number of attributes that easily translate beyond the holidays. Here are some that I think are worth noting:

Good reputation – You can’t buy a good reputation; you must earn it. Santa has a positive reputation because he is a magnanimous soul who stands for goodness and generosity. There is nothing more important than a good reputation in building a successful business. Stand for what is right, and you won’t get knocked down.

Fun-loving – Work should be fun, but fun shouldn’t be work. A fun workplace is not only more productive, but it attracts people and profits. Santa’s elves always look like they are working very hard, but loving their jobs. Your company motto should be – Thank God it’s Monday. You should want your employees to look forward to coming to work.

Great memory with names – Santa never forgets a name. If you want people to know how much you care, show them how much you remember. The sweetest sounding word in the English language is your name being said by someone else. There are many methods for remembering names, such as name association and repetition. It’s an important skill to develop.

Creative gift giver – Santa’s gifts relate to the recipient, not the giver. To do the job right, you have to know your customer as a living, breathing human being with likes and dislikes and interests. A knock-your-socks-off-gift doesn’t have to be expensive either. A gift that shows you have paid attention and have taken a genuine personal interest in your customer says a lot more than a dollar sign. Santa also understands the importance of rewards. I hate to say this to Santa, but Thanksgiving cards still pack a bigger punch than Christmas cards because they stand out from the crowd.

Good listener – If you remember sitting on Santa’s lap, you probably also remember that he paid very close attention to your requests. You can win more friends with your ears than with your mouth. People who feel like they’re being listened to feel accepted and appreciated rather than isolated and rejected.   You feel like you are being taken seriously and what you say really matters.

Great smile – Santa’s flowing beard may hide a lot of his face, but never his happy smile. I learned years ago that one of the most powerful things you can do to have influence over others is to smile at them. That’s why I never underestimate the value of a smile. It should be standard equipment for all people – at work and after hours.

Humility – Santa doesn’t take credit for all the happiness he spreads. It’s refreshing to come across co-workers, bosses or even customers who have enough self-confidence to let their work speak for their abilities and achievements. Humility is becoming a lost art, yet it’s not difficult to practice. It means that you realize that others have been involved in your success.

Enthusiasm – How can Santa Claus continue to do the same job year after year? He’s a pro. He gives it everything he’s got. His focus and enthusiasm is obvious. He loves what he does. If you aren’t getting excited about hitting the pavement every day, it will show. You get what you give – nothing. Enthusiasm is contagious. Start an epidemic.

Positive attitude – Santa promotes good will and good behavior wherever he goes. He encourages children to “be good for goodness’ sake.” Thinking positive has no negative.

A positive mind anticipates happiness, joy, health and success. If you get used to behaving in a positive way, you will form good habits. And your habits will help define the kind of person you are.

Loyal – Even Santa has his elves just like the Lone Ranger had Tonto. One of the first qualities that I look for in both employees and friends is loyalty.

Respects deadlines – If ever there was a job with deadline pressure, Santa has it. Getting the job done on time is essential in building trust and loyalty.

Good judge of character – A naughty or nice list isn’t necessary for most businesses. But demanding that people in your organization act with complete professionalism and respect for your customers is not up for discussion.

Well-dressed – Say what you want, but Santa dresses for success!

Mackay’s Moral: Happy and safe holidays to all!

About the author Harvey Mackay

Seven-time, New York Times best-selling author of "Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive," with two books among the top 15 inspirational business books of all time, according to the New York Times. He is one of America’s most popular and entertaining business speakers, and currently serves as Chairman at the MackayMitchell Envelope Company, one of the nation’s major envelope manufacturers, producing 25 million envelopes a day.

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