Thursday, November 9, 2006

Christmas is just around the corner

Business Times p.B2
Thursday, November 9, 2006

By Moje Ramos-Aquino, FPM
Christmas is just around the corner

So let me be the first to wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

As is our wont as early as September 1 my assistant, Virgie Senarillos, and myself already put up our Christmas tree and started sprucing up our house. Somehow the spirit of Christmas is strengthening each day and spreading cheers all over our house and ourselves. We decorate the tree piece by piece each day, hanging one décor at a time making our tree new each day and by Christmas Day, it will be full of Christmas mirth. This year, as in the last two years, our Christmas tree theme is stuffed toys, big and small.

I wish, though, that there are little toddlers dancing around them. (Hint, hint, hint for Adrian and Ronjie, my two bachelor sons.)

It is not that we put up our Christmas décor only at this time. Actually, it is always Christmas in my house. I believe in keeping Christmas every day of the year, physically and spiritually. I celebrate the reason Christ was born and the thought that he will live again.

So I am always in a celebratory mood nowadays. So are many Filipinos here and abroad. Every Filipino is talking Christmas this early, I am sure. However, talks have gone into the commercial and material route—bonuses, 13th-month pay, shopping, gifts, vacations, parties, what to wear, what to eat, where to go, etc.

Coming from two holidays (’Id al-Fitr and All Souls’ Day), people are still reeling from the expense and effort used to commemorate such significant occasions. Yet here we are now excited about the next holidays. Some are even preparing for a Thanksgiving feast as they do in the US of A.

Here we don’t only observe Christmas and other public holidays, we also have special holidays—working or non-working—local holidays, religious holidays, school/office events and many others. Good or bad, we have that holiday mentality. When there is something going on—bad weather, coup d’état and state visitor to mention a few—the first question of most employees and students would be, “May pasok ba?” (Are our schools/office open?)

So for the next columns, we’ll discuss about the central role of celebration in reinvigorating and re-inspiriting organizations and individuals. This is part of our continuing Journey to Business Excellence using the Balanced Scorecard. Remember that the enabling factor for excellent business results is learning and growth and that people are very much part of the financial success of an organization.

How best do we use play, ritual and ceremony to restore elements of fun, zest, joyfulness at work for people to become motivated to produce desired results, to help in their personal transitions and promote goodwill in times of organizational crises and calamities?

In their book Corporate Celebration, authors Terence Deal and M.K. Key write: Having the right strategy and appropriate structure are very important. But all corporate activity requires human energy to succeed, and human energy is fueled in large measure by ritual and ceremony. To excel, captains of industry must now become champions of celebration. Deep down, many would probably rather manage things than people. Things are predictable, efficient, and relatively easy to control, and require only mechanical maintenance.

“People are whimsical, political and distracted constantly by emotions and pressures both inside and outside of work. People require leads of emotional support, and want meaningful work as well as a bountiful paycheck. Herb Kelleher, CEO of Southwest Airlines, once remarked, “A friend’s wife called me just after he assumed a top corporate position. She complained that he was spending 80 percent of his time on people issues. I told her that he must have landed a real cushy job. I spend 95 percent of my time dealing with people.”

“At the end of his career, quality guru W. Edward Deming reduced his fourteen points for leaders to one key idea—the human spirit. And to us, the human spirit is summoned majestically in ritual and ceremony, celebratory side of life at work.”

Join the fun! Please, share with our readers your most cherished corporate special events and how your organization celebrates them. Let’s spread good cheers around.

(Moje is a management consultant on organization and human resource development and could be reached at

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