The Santa Claus Guide to Perfect Project Management

Update (12/22/11):  I wrote this article last year…but I thought it was funny enough to post again.  

Anyway…I’m taking a few days off to enjoy time with my family.  Check out the blog on Monday for an in-depth video about creating simple affiliate marketing videos for YouTube.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday season and enjoy your time spent with loved ones.

Recently I realized I’m a bit cocky when it comes to completing my projects.  The truth is we’re about to witness the best project manager in the world – Santa Claus.

Old St. Nick has been a (not-so) lean, mean, project finishing machine for hundreds of years and there’s no sign he’s going to stop anytime soon.

I think we can learn a lot about project management from Santa Claus.  In fact, let’s take a look at how he handles tasks that would have a Fortune 500 CEO peeing his pants:

#1- Customer Database Management

Just imagine having every child in the world in your customer database?

Talk about a management nightmare.   Even Facebook couldn’t keep up with this amount of people.

Then right before Christmas he does the biggest list segmentation known to man – The “Naughty or Nice” List. He even does this with a goose quill pen and parchment.  This is so 1890’s.   Can’t we buy him an iPad?

#2- Manufacturing and Distribution

You need small, precise hands to make millions of toys.   Fortunately Santa Claus has his own personal sweatshop filled with hard working elves.  It takes a savvy businessman to keep a toy manufacturing plant hidden away from the prying eyes of OSHA.

Also, think about distribution.  The “nice” customers need their orders fulfilled.  Then he has to make sure the naughty children customers receive the proper amount of coal.

This coal doesn’t mine itself.

Imagine having to deal with a bunch of soot-covered, pissed off elfin coal miners with black lung?

This must get stressful during labor negotiations.

#3. Demi-Human Resources Management

Angry ElfYou need lots of elves to make lots of toys.  And I’m sure they don’t come cheap.  Seriously, there’s only so long an elf is willing to work for candy canes and swirly twirly gum drops.  Eventually you need to show them the money!

Fortunately Santa does have a competitive advantage as an employer… He lives in the NORTH freakin’ POLE.  Where else are the elves going to work?  You know, besides Starbuck’s and McDonalds.

#4- Marketing and Promotion

There’s a reason why Christmas is more popular than ever.  In the months leading up to “The Big Day,” Santa Claus is glad handing all over the world. Do you know what it’s like to be personally responsible for simultaneously entertaining children in 988,903 malls?  Talk about a long day!

Then we have to take into account all those other days competing for Holiday Domination.  Halloween? Valentine’s Day? Easter?  International Steve Scott Day?  -There can be only one-  Yet, Christmas is always on top!

#5- Transportation and Logistics

Circumnavigate the globe in one night? Not a problem!

Do a little B&E (Breaking and Entering) into everyone’s home? Easy as pie!

Time enough for milk and cookies? Check!

No other company in the world can match the delivery service of U.S.P.S. (United Santa Present Service.)   Hell, even FedEx misses a few packages sometimes!

To Jolly Old St. Nick!

We can all take a page from Santa’s playbook.  He’s a guy who’s been crushing it for hundreds of years.  So if you feel stressed out from a project, think about all you can learn from The Hardest Working Man in Toy Business.

Here’s to you Santa!

Take Action. Get Results.

38 thoughts on “The Santa Claus Guide to Perfect Project Management”

  1. Haha Steve,

    This is a quirky post that I enjoy! 😀

    It is a refreshing take on Santa Claus that is timely for Christmas. I love the reference to facebook for his customer database management and his list segmentation into naughty or nice is hilarious! Going all the way with the mention of getting enough coal for naughty children is a stroke of genius!

    Thank you for sharing this fun post, I am still trying to digest your lead magnet post yesterday. 😛

    Irving aka the Vizier

  2. Great post Steve! For further reading on Santa’s amazing management, you should pick up the book The Leadership Secrets of Santa Claus from Amazon. (Yes that was an affiliate link, but like yourself I don’t promote things I don’t believe in! You can remove it if you like, I won’t be mad.) It is a really quick read, with some pretty good content. It is all told from the perspective of the big man himself!



  3. Haha. Nice one Steve. “This is SO 1890’s”… lmao

    Santa is probably delivering a huge motivational speech to his team right now as winter is only a few hours away from officially starting. I hope he brings his A game on Saturday because my 1 and 3 year olds are hoping for some cool stuff 🙂

    • I think anta is also doing some last minute QA on products as well as checking the weather for his itinerary.

      So much to do, so little time for the big man to do it!!


  4. Well Done Steve 😉

    Santa Claus has project management down pat. The man is a master at making it all happen. In addition he never misses a Christmas 🙂

    Thanks for sharing and have a powerful day!


  5. Hi Steve

    You are one talented guy. Not only producing poetry for the holiday season; now you are giving us humour as well….yay 😉

    I did smile especially at …..well all of it actually. You made this blogger smile and it’s way past when I should have logged off and got some zzzzzs 🙂

    Patricia Perth Australia

  6. Hi Steve:

    Great call of the season. Nice post at least it makes me stop thinking the over load of work that I have day and night. I know every one is in the same boat. but……You are right I will have to learn from Saint Nick, at least he is older than me and still doing same things on a higher scale because of the increasing population. I guess tonight I have to write an article and email St. Nick, Steve can you give me the email address. Find it from you data base and if it is not there it should be in his data base right at the top.

    Take care your in a festive mood, so I turned myself there too.

    Enjoy the season you deserve it.

    Best Wishes for a Merry Christmas
    fran A

    • Santa is at 1 North pole. Pretty sure they gave that away in “rudolph the red nosed riendeer” that works for snail mail. As for email, I am not sure he is on yet, I think he only has the Santa Intranet and not sure if it is connected to the outside world, since it is not powered by electricity but powered by gumdrops and candycanes.

  7. Nice one Steve,

    Santa is a really good marker he made his brand known all over the world. If I would be him I would register my trademark and charge them money everytime they use a Santa for promotion purposes.

    Anyway, funny post you now your way with words and have a funny side. And to be on the funny side, you know that Santa has the list of all the naughty girls out there (18+ of course). He could make big bucks just selling that list :D.
    I can only imagine how much dough would Santa make just by sending an email with an holiday related affiliate link or even his own product (but I am thinking he is Santa so all things from him are free, except the milk and cookies that fuel him).

    • If Santa trademarked and registered his toys he would be a billionaire many times over. The old man is great at some business aspects and horrid at others.

      I imagine Santa hunts down the naughty girls during his vacation in Spring Break. He is quite randy. I have heard he runs around the pools down there asks all the girls if they, “want to ride my sleigh”

  8. Steve,

    Your Christmas based posts, including this one, are not only valuable but also very entertaining as well. Thanks for the posts you have been putting out for the past couple of days. Awesome stuffs.

    We should buy him an ipad huh!

    Later man!

  9. With so many elves producing so many toys to keep every child happy, Santa must be a genius in outsourcing! From order to delivery his process is 100% optimized, he even has time to relax on a sunny beach on Boxing Day – so they say. Are we, the bloggers, going to have that luck?

  10. Hahaha Steve, for one second you made me feel I was Santa!
    Hell of a job man! Like you said, imagine that database, every single kid of the world! OMG!
    “Circumnavigate the globe in one night? Not a problem!” Hahaha, hilarious!
    Hope to see you around 🙂

  11. Great post Steve, glad to see you’re a fan of the big man…

    A couple of years a go I discovered a website put together by the good folk at NORAD – NORAD Tracks Santa – right now it’s just a count down but on Christmas Eve you’ll be getting ‘live updates’ as Santa makes his journey across the globe – awesome stuff!

    The History of why NORAD do this is quite entertaining. Dating back over 50 years to when Sears, thanks to a miss print, inadvertantly published the TOP SECRET Operations “hotline” number, to speak with Santa.

    If you have kids they’ll be glued to it, but if you’re a slightly intrigued adult you’ll be left with a big smile on your face.

  12. Steve – Now that you mention it, Santa Claus is the biggest and most productive CEO/project manager in the world. I really loved your #5 on transportation and logistics. You’re acronym U.S.P.S. (United Santa Present Service.) was clever. I’m curious, did you come up with that one yourself? I agree, not even FedEx can compete with going around the entire globe in a single night. Fun post, and happy holidays to you and your family.

    • Yes, this is a SSS original. I have had a lot of fun playing around with Christmas for a few posts this last week. Now the big day is almost here!! 🙂

      Thanks for your comment Kerry, I hope you have a great Christmas!!

  13. Hi Steve,

    I love this post too. I’m really enjoying your writing. I think you’re becoming a master story-teller. 🙂

    Santa is the Man! Happy Holidays!!!

  14. Another fun and funny post, Steve! Made me laugh and what’s more fun during the pre-holiday craziness than taking a moment to laugh!

  15. I wish I had read this last week when it was posted. I am sure Santa has migrated over to a Mechanical Turk system after reading The 4 Hour Work Week. Why pay the elves to make toys, when he could hire some lowly workers somewhere else in the world for pennies?

  16. Hi Steve,

    What a nice Post about Santa. Very cool and with humor.
    I like the comment from Alex Papa …… its right, Santa is a genius in outsourcing 🙂
    For few weeks, i read your site and now i`m back, because i find your site very interesting and your posts too.

    Wish you all merry Christmas and hope Santa gives you many presents 🙂
    greetings from Germany and enjoys the time with your family and friends.

  17. Hilarious post Steve! I LoL’ed from the beginning till the end 😀

    You’re right, Santa is a genius when it comes to management and product distribution. If I set up a company in the future, I’d like to pick up a CEO whose CV has the “live at: North freaking Pole” line!

    Happy Holidays!

  18. Hi Steve,

    I think you’re talking about a specific type of project (physical product based projects), most of the above do not apply to many other projects (including construction and service based projects).

  19. Funny post but also very smart approach on this subject. I couldn’t agree more with everything wrote here, congratulations! When doing business, one of the most important things is to constantly know what you are doing, what you must do, what you mustn’t do, when you must do, when you mustn’t do and so on. So, it’s important to do the right things at the right moments, that’s what’s all about. Thanks for sharing!

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