The holiday seasons are upon us and we’re awash in the magic of Christmas, Hanukah, Love Actually, my parents’ Awesome Semi-Pagan beliefs, and, of course, Festivus. As we share stories of holiday joy with friends and family, it’s important to remember that this time of year is full of opportunities to enhance your career potential. Here is some career advice from your favourite holiday characters.

Santa Claus

He’s pretty much the CEO of a conglomerate that’s equal parts FedEx and Mattel. Santa knows how to manage his time, motivate people and deliver on commitments. He oversees the sourcing, production and customizing of billions of toys for billions of people around the world. To say the least, Santa can teach us a thing or two about productivity and managing a project.

The Three Wise Men

There are lessons to be learned about personal branding from these guys. As our friend Julian said, “they are still remembered for giving gifts that are totally inappropriate for a baby and that nobody knows what to do with.” Well played, gentlemen.

Buddy the Elf

Whether you’re at work or in your neighbourhood, enthusiasm is a powerful community-building tool. Even though he’s different from non-syrup-sucking-humans, Buddy’s enthusiasm for life and comfort in his own skin is contagious and helps others see the world with positivity.

Elves (in general)

Overall, elves seem to have a very strong work ethic. And having a great work ethic and a good amount of professional grit will get you ahead in work and life. We aren’t sure whether they’re working in a unionized environment (though we’re hopeful Santa wouldn’t oppose such organizing like Walmart does), but we do generally get the sense that they work in a supportive and inclusive community. That’s probably a big factor of why Santa’s workshop has such great employee retention.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Communities are stronger when we embrace diversity and include folks who are different in thought, culture and appearance. Rudolph leans into what makes him different and makes his community better and allows Santa to deliver on his project.

Clark Griswold

The lead character, played by Chevy Chase, in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation never wavers from his commitment to deliver a “good ol’ fashioned family Christmas!” Clark overcomes bickering in-laws, pretentious neighbours, bad wiring, hillbilly cousins, a miserly boss, and a rambunctious squirrel to achieve his vision. Believing in yourself is a powerful thing.

Ebenezer Scrooge

Great leaders change their position when presented with the right data. Scrooge needs to be led through the impact of his choices on his community, but just like Thomas the Engine, he eventually gets there and changes his practice to be more socially responsible. According to Forbes’s Amy Rees, admitting you are wrong doesn’t make you weak, it makes you awesome!

Frosty the Snowman

When it comes to career potential sometimes it just takes one ingredient (hint: a magical hat) to take you from a good employee to a great one. Without his hat, Frosty was a snowman; with his hat he was a magical, jive-dancing Christmas character. What’s your magic hat? Is it getting a good night sleep, looking at the positive side of things or using the word awesome?

Kevin from Home Alone

Whatever you think about this movie, it inarguably teaches us about innovation. Kevin makes use of his home’s surroundings to come up with all sorts of sadistic devices to injure the bungling “Wet Bandits”. Such creative thinking can be positively channeled at work – even if you aren’t blessed with the idea financial or human resources you can still achieve winning results with what’s lying around the office.

The Women from Love Actually

Pretty much everything from this article. So, when it comes to applying career advice from the women in this film it might actually be a good idea to do the opposite of what they do. Just in cases Hollywood misrepresented female potential in this movie…

Cindy Lou Who

Cindy is a happy, positive and cheerful person. She is kind in the face of adversity and uses kindness as a strategy to win people over – well, a particular person – and build a truly inclusive Christmas community!

John McClane

This selection is a bold move. Also, this might just be the greatest Holiday Character of all time! Let’s test Die Hard‘s John McClane’s career advice with the six professional competencies that we write about on this blog.

Adaptability? Check! John loses his shoes in the film’s, like, third scene and doesn’t look back. Thinking agility and ability? Check! Multiple decades of street-smarts help Officer McClane stay one step ahead of Hans and his cronies. Communication? Check! Straight-talk and real-truth is given to the LAPD and FBIin spades – if only they listened sooner. Also, amazing one-liners! Collaboration? Yes! John and Al Powell are probably still best friends today. Creativity? Yipee ki-yay mother of innovation! John McClane pulls fire alarms, builds bombs out of computers, rides elevators, and creatively uses Christmas wrapping tape to foil the terrorist/robbers’ plot. Leadership?  How about John’s commitment and vision to defeat the bad guys as a valiant leader without a title?

So there it is. Our story of professional lessons from our favourite holiday characters.

We want to hear your perspective? Who did we miss and what can we learn from them?

Photo Credit: David.R.Carroll via Compfight cc

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