Naughty and Nice

What criteria does Santa use to determine who’s naughty and who’s nice? There aren’t many people who are completely naughty and even the nicest people slip up now and then. It all seems pretty subjective to me. I’ve got a few ideas for Mr. Claus, a long-time ProfitTips reader, that would make these decisions easier, increase his confidence that he’d made the right call and alleviate the stress for everyone concerned. It would also be useful if one of the kids on his naughty list took legal action.

My advice to Santa is that, rather than calling kids naughty and nice, he embrace a different paradigm. Don’t focus on the person, focus on the behavior. This same principle applies when reviewing the performance of his staff in his workshop.  When reviewing the elf performance he shouldn’t do an elf review, he should do a performance review. If you want to make an elf, or anyone else, defensive, review them.  If you want to improve their performance, then review their performance.

To effectively critique performance we need to establish performance targets. That requires a little effort on the employer’s part.  In the short term it seems easier to use our best judgement about an employee’s performance, but in the long run objective targets will make performance reviews much more effective. You’ll be more confident in your appraisal and employees will know what is expected of them and the criteria by which their performance is being evaluated.

Perhaps Santa should establish a performance balance sheet, with nice things on one side and naughty on the other. Each measurable act of naughty and niceness could be weighted.  Saying “please” or “thank you” might equal one positive credit.  Pouting could be one demerit. Cleaning up your room without being told would be 3 credits. A white lie, 5 demerits. A full-fledged lie, 25 demerits. If someone has a positive balance at the end of the year they’d make the nice list. If the balance is negative, Santa would support the coal industry.

Observing and documenting behavior shouldn’t be a problem because, as creepy as it sounds, “He sees you when you’re sleeping and he knows when you’re awake.”

You might think that a system like this would take a lot of time to create.  But you could probably knock it out in a couple of mornings. Besides, Santa already has a list that he checks twice. With a little structure and objective standards he’d only have to check it once, and with his off-season starting in a couple of weeks, he’ll have plenty of time.

Merry Christmas from the teachers, facilitators and office staff at RMC!


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