How does Santa get the big job done, and lead his diverse team?
The Sabre office has recently discussed the possible Belbin Team Roles for this jovial, generous and quite legendary chap.
Santa Claus (aka Saint Nicholas, Father Christmas, Saint Nick and Sinterklaas) continues to inspire the imagination of kids and adults alike.
He also happens to be a very busy man who is in charge of one of the world’s biggest ongoing projects. So just how might Mr Claus lead his amazing North Pole team to get this massive job done year after year?
Since at least the third century, the stories of Santa Claus have revolved around themes of warmth, friendliness and of his generous and giving nature (particularly towards those less fortunate or in need).
This rings true for the warm and people focused Belbin Role of Teamworker who likes to see the best in others (even if those people do end up on the naughty list occasionally).
A Teamworker will also aspire to the creation of an atmosphere of harmony and inter-personal warmth and sharing. This is naturally a key component of Santa’s role in the Christmas story and spirit of the season.
Santa is a people oriented leader. Whilst seeking to take charge, he will do so in a calm and consultative way to get diverse people and teams working towards the same objective.
He readily delegates daily work to his teams of Completer Finisher and Implementer Elves (and their global network of helpers), ensuring that the various functions of the North Pole will mesh into the agreed bigger picture objectives of the team.
A good Coordinator style is quite a useful asset when managing a big project like this.
Christmas for Santa is a complex year-long production process that ends with a very time compressed supply chain fon that single delivery day. It thus requires many sets of expertise to be very carefully managed and “coordinated”.
He must also have some good Shaper Elves cracking the whip in November as the deadline looms, and he also seems quite adept at managing his Plants, Specialists and Monitor Evaluators for ongoing toy R&D and quality control.
Perhaps his Resource Investigators are also out and about each year keeping tabs on the latest trends in youth hobbies and interests and then reporting them back to the team?
This is a very dependable man who has loyally and methodically preseved the major systems that serve the needs of others for centuries.
He thus demonstrates some of the solid characteristics of a dedicated and well-organized Implementer who is not only happy to take on the hard work, but is also dedicated to ensuring that it is done reliably each year in more or less the same way.
A good Implementer is a useful role when you need to ensure that your visions and ideals can actually be converted into actions and systems that will work to achieve the team's goals.
Like any successful personality, Santa will also have a subtle blend of manageable and least preferred roles that flavour his operating style and unique contributions.
Behind every Teamworker, Coordinator, Implementer, Completer Finisher, Plant, Monitor Evaluator, Shaper, Resource Investigator or Specialist is a unique person who flavours their own combination of Roles in their own special way.
And since Santa has been so successful in this leadership role for centuries, he really does seem to be managing his weaknesses whilst assembling a well-balanced team around him to help make Christmas run smoothly each year.
What about Santa's "bad cop", The Krampus?
Now after some time with our German partners in Munich, we have also argued about the possible Team Roles of that rather sinister Austro-Bavarian Christsmas "bad cop" to Santa's "good cop" The Krampus. He assesses which children have been naughty, and decides the punishment before fearlessly administering it.
We actually thought it best not to play with the Krampus character this time around.
We'll leave that to your imaginations (although some references were made to ME / SH).
Merry Christmas to you from the Sabre team.