UK: Brain food - Unlikely managers - Seasonal gift coordinator - The Grotto, Lapland.

UK: Brain food - Unlikely managers - Seasonal gift coordinator - The Grotto, Lapland. - Name - Father Christmas

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Name - Father Christmas

When did you become a manager? - Earlier this century, when everyone started demanding decent presents.

What does management mean to you? - In a seasonal business like this, it's all about yearly plans. First we sort the children's letters (and their faxes, e-mails, voicemails, etc). Then we apply a 'household income modifier' to requests, which explains why rich kids get ponies and poor kids don't, no matter how good they've been. It's tough, but budgets are tight and 'expectation management' is a big part of my job.

Christmas is so commercial now that we have to outsource most of our manufacturing to cut costs - footballs are stitched in countries with no minimum wage, for example. That allows us to concentrate on our core business - 'providing customer delight in the supply of Yuletide gifts'.

By early December we're wrapping and hiring short-term sleigh drivers and reindeer. On the 25th, I'm around to oversee and troubleshoot. When it's all over, we pay ourselves porky Xmas bonuses, then it's off to the Bahamas for two months.

What do you love/hate about it? - I love the mince pies. I hate the elves' work councils and cheap sherry.

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