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A Christmas party close to breakdown!

A Business Christmas Story 2017 - Names and abbreviations have been randomly chosen - Cheers!

The situation: All hell is breaking loose at the Christmas post office. In recent years have seen lots of additions to families being registered. The boom continues. The number of deliveries that the post office has to deal with continues to rise. Ensuring the punctual delivery of parcels is at risk.

The boss (the old man) has invited staff members to an extraordinary meeting. Only a few weeks before the big showdown, the little angels are shouting from the rooftops: “Changes are on the horizon, staff shortages and lots of new ‘flashing things’ are causing some people to doubt the operation’s performance and reliability. The only reliable thing is the proven corporate culture. Cosy, sweetly-scented and brimming with snug warmth. The assembly hall is enlivened adorned with Christmas decorations and is nearly bursting with team members. Traditionally, the departments would gather in their red, yellow and green blocks, but the lights have gone out above one of them. The hard-working reindeer are lying behind in the fragrant hay and have made themselves comfortable next to their sledges.

The old man comes bounding onto the stage. “Hey, you there in the dark (black block), come forward. Today, everyone is to show their face”, he shouts, a bit over-motivated, into the microphone. “Today, have to speak plainly”, he emphasises very emotionally again, and his companions feel that not only the 2-3 cups of the glowing juice have contributed their share to the charged atmosphere. Where there was previously the sound of joyful members, there is now a suddenly tense silence.

“I'm worried about our image. We are facing major changes, need to integrate new elves and implement laws. For far too long, you have been sounding out the situation in your departments and with each other. The result is sobering, I have heard. Time is running out and in the history books we will not be the first ones who...”. Here, his voice fails, and irritated he looks to the green block where its leader Cem has risen. He deliberately becomes loud and calls out to him. “... We need workable compromises, sit down together with Horscht and Maartin and coordinate your processes constructively and in a goal-orientated manner”. Nobody gets off scot-free. Then he looks over at the yellow block, grabs his cup and grunts at Gristian, the team boss, with a resentful tone. “Respect!”, but adds with a warning, “For all!... And Christmas is not postponed and that’s final!” A mischievous giggle is heard coming from the black block, which is evidently not only being caused by the high-percentage red snooze juice.

The old man takes a long break. Here and there a reindeer snorts. Rudi and his new buddies, Hana and Fiori, who were hired just last year, look at the thoughtful faces of the usually always so good-tempered elves in astonishment. After all, everyone was so optimistic that the challenges could be met with great commitment and willingness to compromise. Every investment, every project proposal has been approved! The battle has been fought for the Elf Pension Fund and everyone benefits from it. Now everyone gets a seE - a special electronic Elfmailbox - so that communication can be even more optimal, reliable and faster. A new businessApp platform CRP - ChristmasResourcePlanning - had even been introduced, which everyone can access directly from the sleigh, in the chimney or directly after presents have been delivered, without any loss of time. Whether Android or Apple Schnapps - everyone can use their favourite equipment. “BYOD” - that's what Karle, our Elf nerd calls it.  

“You all know about everything we've done”, the old man proudly continues. He notices that he is beginning to sweat and takes a healthy swig. Now, his voice has gained a melodious and warm tone. “Not everyone was immediately enthusiastic, but you are all so hard-working, but also prudent enough to do everything right. All of the people love us and yet…”, he wrinkles his forehead and his tone becomes serious, “the biggest change is still ahead of us and it’s coming in just a few months”. It's getting loud in the hall. There are whispers and interjections such as, “What is it this time?”, that can be heard all the way up to the stage. Meanwhile, hardworking little angels bring in the evening buffet. The aroma of figs, dates, gingerbread, marzipan and the bubbling juice bowl cause some of the elves’ minds to wander.

“The GDPR”, shouts out the old man, with the effect of a thunderbolt. The Christmas atmosphere seems to be over, because a lot of discussion and speculation is taking place in the blocks. Some perceive it as a cause of panic, others approach the requirements with respect. It affects everyone, because responsibility will now have to be redefined. Personal data, the “gold of the Christmas season”, will demonstrably receive even more protection and security. That's good, because only recently Zarah from the dark red department reported an incident in which the addresses of millions of children were in danger.

With a reverential expression, he looks into hundreds of tense faces. Now he has to swear-in his team, argue strategically, motivate them right away. He takes a deep breath and raises his deep voice even more loudly than ever before. “Dear Christmas helpers, the reward of our work is the look of happiness in the eyes of the people”, he says, enjoying the mindfulness that has now appeared. His eyes shine with enthusiasm as he says, “... Let us tackle the opportunities of the many changes, challenges and new challenges together. Let us gain confidence in the new solutions, treat each other with respect and be a team. No sooner has he called out to the “team”, then the collective voices in the huge all can be heard saying as one, “We can do this!”.

“Oh, no”, the old man thinks. “No, not again.” From behind him, he can feel someone put a hand on his shoulder. He turns around and St Nicholas is standing behind him. “Your investments will be worthwhile, the rules will take effect and next year we will once again be able to enjoy a Christmas atmosphere at our annual meeting. Thank you, dude!”

In that spirit, I hope you will remain pleasantly optimistic, inspire others and take one or two sceptics by the “symbolic” hand. Enjoy your festive break and create a warm, trusting environment to relax in the company of your team.

Your (jolly, but confident) stable visitor,
Steffen Schaar

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