Business Planning

Mike Clark’s Business Bites: Love it or loathe it, it’s time to start planning for Christmas

Karaoke could be the way to go for work Chrstimas parties this year. Who will sing I Want to Break Free? Photo / Michael Craig


It almost pains me to ask what you are planning for Christmas as the shops are filling with Halloween costumes, lollies and paraphernalia. I am not a fan of Christmas carols in October or even November – much less blogs in September on the topic of Christmas!

The commercialisation of Christmas is one of my pet peeves. The reality, however, is that as a society we do gear up towards the magical date of the 25th. Many production plants will be sending out letters this month with cut-off dates for Christmas ordering (and with the logistical challenge of the current supply chain, many may have already closed their books to orders for pre-Christmas delivery). This is the rhythm as the last quarter of the year rolls in. Do you have a plan in place?

The end of year comes with multiple challenges, not least of which is the increasing demand on our time and attention. The networking and end-of-year events steadily increase in momentum vying with increasing orders and customer requests for our focus and energy. Time sprouts wings, dons a jet pack and races towards the chequered flag waving over the shutdown/Christmas/New Year finish line. In this frenzied rush it can be easy to forget your staff and loyal customers, leaving them on the platform of good intentions as you speed by.

This is a mistake.

Hence this blog now.

Plan to recognise those who are important to your business – your staff and key clients.

There are many ways of doing this. Gifts and events are among the most popular. Doing something with your team is a great way to celebrate the year and all you have come through together. You can keep it low key – a barbecue and drinks at work with family invites, set a budget and get your team to organise, or be creative yourself.

Events can be a simple gathering or blend some training with team activity and bonding time. A quick Google search of places and activities in Palmy brings up a huge range of options to suit all budgets. Venues range from the classic Caccia Birch House, to the spacious racecourse, Orlando which offers multiple activities, to smaller venues in many motels and up to the more exclusive lodges in and around Manawatū. Some venues have activities on-site (clay bird shooting, driving ranges, knife throwing, obstacle courses) and some companies can bring activities to you.

Others make for a great addition to the day and get the team moving around – The Treasure Hunt Company has teams running around the city, Daytona for the lovers of speed, laser tag for the energetic and competitive, golf/driving range, putt-putt, blow carts, karaoke, Globe Theatre, high ropes, escape rooms, brewery tour, to name a few. Consider tying the event and activities into your company mission, vision, values and/or theme for the year just gone or the coming year.

Be clear and intentional if you decide to run an event. Ideally seek input and ideas from your team – when people lean in with thoughts and ideas they tend to have more buy-in. Let people know ahead of time what you are planning, what they can expect, and why you are making the investment.

• Mike Clark is director and lead trainer and facilitator at Think Right business training company.

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