Merry Christmas: Pat-a-pan

Merry Christmas!

One of my favorite Christmas carols is Pat-a-pan. It was first published in 1720 and has endured through the centuries.

This is my favorite version sung by Steve Green and arranged by David Hamilton. They collaborated on the additional lyrics.

May the energy of this song infuse you with Christmas spirit. May the lyrics remind you of the reason we celebrate.

-Skip

 


“God has come to us. God is here with us. Emmanuel!”

3 Leadership Lessons from Santa Claus

Leadership Lessons from Saint Nick

All year long he’s preparing for a single night.

Of course, he doesn’t do it alone. His faithful wife is by his side, a full partner in making Christmas a success. And the industrious elves are at work, focused, skilled, determined to meet the imposing deadlines. Oh yes, we can’t forget the reindeer, a critical part of his delivery team.

Christmas Eve is show time. There’s no room for excuses. It’s not possible to delay. Time waits for no man, not even Santa.

Santa’s leadership is fully on display on Christmas Eve.

1. Let go of the baggage weighing you down.

By the end of the night, everything is gone. He doesn’t hold on to anything. Every single bag is delivered, leaving him with an empty sleigh. Because of this, the year ahead offers unlimited opportunity, a fresh slate, a new outlook.

Are you holding on to baggage better left to the past?

 

Lesson from Santa: Let go of baggage weighing you down.

 

Lesson from Santa: Giving to others frees you up for new opportunities.

 

2. Remember the good and forget the bad.

Santa has kept a record. Sure, we know he supposedly sees the good and the bad, but no kid ever reports getting a bag of coal Christmas morning. I think he has an excellent memory for the good things, the kindnesses he sees, and he forgets a lot of the bad stuff. Santa focuses on the positive and uplifting.

Are you willing to overlook faults, forgive wrongs, and remember the best of people?

 

Lesson from Santa: Forget wrongs. Celebrate kindness.

 

Lesson from Santa: Focus on the positive.

 

49 Christmas Quotes and Sayings

For all of you celebrating Christmas, here is a collection of quotes and sayings to make you laugh, think, or remember. For those not celebrating Christmas, you may still enjoy some of the thoughts and sayings here.  Enjoy the season!

What I don’t like about office Christmas parties is looking for a job the next day. –Phyllis Diller

 

Mail your packages early so the post office can lose them in time for Christmas. –Johnny Carson

 

I stopped believing in Santa when I was six. Mother took me to see him in a department store and he asked for my autograph. –Shirley Temple

 

The worst gift is a fruitcake. There is only one fruitcake in the entire world and people keep sending it to each other. –Johnny Carson

 

We elves try to stick to the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns, and syrup. –Buddy the Elf

 

Santa Claus has the right idea. Visit people only once a year. –Victor Borge

 

I once bought my kids a set of batteries for Christmas with a note saying: “Toys not included!” –Bernard Manning

 

A good conscience is a continual Christmas. –Ben Franklin

 

Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly Merry Christmas. –Peg Bracken

 

Pets, like their owners, tend to expand a little over the Christmas period. –Frances Wright

 

One of the nice things about Christmas is that you can make people forget the past with a present. -Unknown

 

Love the giver more than the gift. –Brigham Young

 

I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in jars and open a jar of it every month. –Harian Miller

 

That’s the true spirit of Christmas: people being helped by people other than me. –Jerry Seinfeld

 

The real Santa Claus is at the mall. –Lemony Snicket

 

I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. -Charles Dickens

 

Christmas is a necessity. There has to be at least one day of the year to remind us that we’re here for something else besides ourselves. –Eric Sevareid

 

One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day. Don’t clean it up too quickly. –Andy Rooney

 

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. -Normal Vincent Peale

 

Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone. –Charles Schulz

 

The excellence of a gift lies in its appropriateness rather than in its value. Charles D Warner

 

The only blind person at Christmastime is he who has not Christmas in his heart. –Helen Keller

 

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, good will toward men. -Luke 2:14

 

There’s nothing sadder in this world than to awake Christmas morning and not be a child. –Erma Bombeck

 

Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas. — Calvin Coolidge

Make Some Room in Your Heart this Christmas

A Chance Encounter

Dan Peterson was suffering the loss of his wife, Mary. Depression descended on him so profoundly that he spent his days staring out the window.

A chance encounter with a four-year-old little girl named Nora changed everything.

It’s quite a touching story about loss, love, and renewed hope.

 

“I know I made room in my heart for a lot more.” -Dan Peterson

 

And it’s a reminder that each of us, no matter our age, can have a profound impact on those around us.

Christmas can be a wonderful season, full of joy and family. It can be a time of deep spiritual renewal. It can also be a time of suffering for those who have lost someone.

Let’s learn from this incredible little girl. This season:

  • Make a stranger a friend.
  • Give a hug to someone in need.
  • Develop a sensitivity to others around you.
  • Express your heart.
  • Give more than you receive.

“We rise by lifting others.” –Robert Ingersoll

 

Be the Unsung Hero

How Some Phrases May Be Costing You A Fortune

The Power of Words

Words are powerful. The language we use in a casual conversation, a text, or in the boardroom can have extraordinary power and impact.

Words can equally destroy, limit, or curtail meaningful progress or conversation.

I recently came across a powerful new book, Expensive Sentences: Debunking the Common Myths that Derail Decisions and Sabotage Success, by Jack Quarles. He discusses the sentences or phrases that can derail progress and stop results.

I’m a student of good communication and have been all my life. And Jack’s observations and practical book upped my game immediately from Chapter 1. I’m sure you will enjoy learning to recognize these sentences and strategies and how to handle them as they arise.

Jack Quarles is the founder of Buying Excellence, a company helping businesses choose the best vendor possible. He is a specialist on expense management, negotiations, and increasing ROI.

 

How to Spot the Expensive Sentence

Give us an example of an “expensive sentence.”

Skip, here are a few I’ve heard in the last week:

“I’m too busy to look at that now.”

“She’s the only one who can do the job.”

“It’s too late to change our plans.”

They surround us. Sometimes they take the form of proverbs, like, “You can’t change horses in mid-stream,” or “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Others can be very localized, like, “Our boss isn’t interested in new marketing tactics,” or “That’s just Ted being Ted.”

 

“The best time to manage the damage of an Expensive Sentence is right after you hear it.” –Jack Quarles

 

How are expensive sentences related to poor communication?

Unfortunately, Expensive Sentences have the effect of ending conversations and stopping communication. For example, imagine that you and I are discussing which consultant to hire for a project, and I say, “Well, you get what you pay for.” That phrase has weight; it sounds wise and definitive. You will probably think I am quite set in that position (of hiring the higher-priced consultant), even though I may only be 60% sure that it applies here. I’d be better off qualifying my words before they define our decision, and you might be smart to gently respond, “Yes, it’s often true that you do have to pay for higher quality… but is that true in this case? Or could that be an Expensive Sentence?”

 

Myths that Drive Decision-Making

Jack, you debunk many common myths that drive corporate decision-making. And then you give suggestions on how to handle them. I’d love to delve into a few, starting with, “The customer is always right.” You give examples of where customers are mistaken. Would you share one and the implications?

es_cover_oct_2016_flat-2In the book, I share about a meeting I took part in with the CEO of Five Guys, Jerry Murrell. They’ve grown with a franchise model, and so they have customers who run restaurants (franchisees) and customers who eat burgers (“French fries-ees” – sorry, couldn’t resist!) Lots of people associate burgers with milkshakes, and a common request/complaint is that Five Guys should sell milkshakes. Other customers would love to see turkey sandwiches or coffee on the menu.

Murrell sees these potential expansions as diversions; he has always been laser-focused on burgers & fries. The chain prides itself on being the best reviewed restaurant in the world, in part because they serve such limited fare. If they were to start offering other items, they’d be graded on the average of their full menu, and Five Guys is not confident they can make what would universally be considered the best milkshake or turkey sandwich or cup of coffee in the world. (Burgers & fries? Done.)

There are only two reasons that our customers are “wrong” with their requests: either they add too much cost for us to serve them sustainably (i.e., profitably), or they lead us in the wrong direction, away from our core business. We must be clear and confident about our business model to avoid letting customers steer us in the wrong direction. This can be tricky because sometimes we need to experiment, and business models can evolve. But over-responsiveness is a proven path to exhaustion and losses.

Five Guys is an extreme example of focus (even within the restaurant industry), but note their success. Clearly, it’s not “wrong” in the abstract to want a turkey sandwich or a milkshake with your burger; the point is that’s not the kind of experience that Five Guys is offering.

How wide-ranging is your “menu”? Where does your business draw the line? What are the wrong kind of customers? Do you currently have a client who might be better served by one of your competitors? These are great questions to discuss with your team.

 

“The cost of Expensive Sentences transcends the income statement; it affects lives all around us.” –Jack Quarles

 

How about one of my favorites: “That’s the way we’ve always done it.” What are a few possible responses to that expensive sentence?