4i Newsletter Masthead 457

Christmas Lessons.

Four i 457 ChristmasLessons

When you stop and think about it, Christmas is quite remarkable.

First of all, no one owns it. It’s free to access, utilise and, (unfortunately), exploit.

Despite its origins, people of all countries, of all religions, of all politics, of all ages, celebrate it.

It has a brand that is impregnable, that’s impossible to significantly damage, despite the abuse of it from vast numbers of businesses and people.

And it works, really well, whatever the weather, however the economy is faring, and despite the best efforts of certain groups of people to disrupt it.

A conversation with my son-in-law last week, prompted me to think about how businesses can learn from Christmas, and there are three key things that come to mind.

1. Outsource.

There are no employees at Christmas PLC/INC.
All the work is outsourced.
As is management, manufacturing, purchasing, distribution – everything.

Lesson – rather than outsourcing being solely for managing spikes, or when it’s hard to recruit, instead put it at the centre of your operations.

2. Automation

I don’t have the data for how much of Christmas is automated, but as %, I bet it exceeds every other comparative operation.
For sure, it still requires huge human input and effort, but what is unarguable is how much of Christmas is automated.

Lesson – growth requires automation – you cannot scale without it. Automation also enables consistent delivery, and that in turn allows key people to focus on the third lesson.

3. Continuous development

Christmas has evolved, adapted and changed with the times, more often than not, ahead of the times.
Although it comes just once a year, (albeit now for 2-4 times longer than when I was a child), it’s being worked on constantly.
Unlike other “events”, such as Easter and Guy Fawkes/Bonfire night, it’s moved with the times – and hence retains its leadership position in the calendar hierarchy.

Lesson – there’s never a best time for continuous improvement, it has to be constant, regardless of market conditions or anything else.

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