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matrix vision newsletter
Christmas Fun Issue
December, 2009 - Vol 2, Issue 12
In This Issue
Christmas Stories
Some Interesting Reading
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Story of the Month

Not long ago and far away, Santa was getting ready for his annual trip...but there were problems everywhere.


Four of his elves were sick, and the trainee elves did not produce the toys as fast as the regular ones so Santa was beginning to feel the pressure of being behind schedule.


Then Mrs. Claus told Santa that her mom was coming to visit. This stressed Santa even more. When he went to harness the reindeer, he found that three of them were about to give birth and two had jumped the fence and were out, heaven knows where. More Stress. Then when he began to load the sleigh, one of the boards cracked and the toy bag fell to the ground and scattered the toys. So, frustrated, Santa went into the house for a cup of coffee and a shot of whiskey. When he went to the cupboard, he found the elves had hidden the liquor and there was nothing to drink. In his frustration, he dropped the coffee pot and it broke into hundreds of little pieces all over the the kitchen floor.


He went to get the broom and found that mice had eaten the straw it was made from.


Just then the doorbell rang and Santa cussed on his way to the door. He opened the door and there was a little angel with a great big Christmas tree. The angel said: "Where would you like to put this tree Santa?"


And that my friends, is how the little angel came to be on top of the Christmas tree.

Christmas Quotes
"Christmas at my house is always at least six or seven times more pleasant than anywhere else. We start drinking early. And while everyone else is seeing only one Santa Claus, we'll be seeing six or seven."
W C Fields
"Santa is very jolly because he knows where the bad girls live."
Dennis Miller
"I once bought my kids a set of batteries for Christmas
with a note on it saying, toys not included."
Bernard Manning
 Christmas Banner
Welcome to the matrix vision Christmas 2009 newsletter.  This month's newsletter is a little light hearted - after all it is Christmas. While we have lots of Christmas stories and quotes, we have also included articles about:
  • engaging your employees,
  • giving thanks to your employees
  • managing change in office relocations, and
  • the power of mentoring

Enjoy your reading and as always your feedback would be welcome!

We would like to take the opportunity of wishing all who read this newsletter a very happy Christmas and a successful and prosperous 2010.
Christmas Stories

Holly 1 

A family had twin boys whose only resemblance to each other was their looks. If one felt it was too hot, the other thought it was too cold. If one said the TV was too loud, the other claimed the volume needed to be turned up. Opposite in every way, one was an eternal optimist, the other a doom and gloom pessimist.

Just to see what would happen, at Christmas time their father loaded the pessimist's room with every imaginable toy and game.

The optimist's room he loaded with horse manure.


That night the father passed by the pessimist's room and found him sitting amid his new gifts crying bitterly.


"Why are you crying?" the father asked.


"Because my friends will be jealous, I'll have to read all these instructions before I can do anything with this stuff, I'll constantly need batteries, and my toys will eventually get broken." answered the pessimist twin.


Passing the optimist twin's room, the father found him dancing for joy in the pile of manure. "What are you so happy about?" he asked.


To which his optimist twin replied, "There's got to be a pony in here somewhere!"


One night Freda went carol singing.


She knocked on the door of a house and began to sing. A man with a violin in his hand came to the door


Within half a minute tears were streaming down his face! Freda went on singing for half an hour, every carol she knew - and some she didn't.


As last she stopped.


'I understand,' she said softly. 'You are remembering your happy childhood Christmas days. You're a sentimentalist!'


'No,' he snivelled. 'I'm a musician!'

There are 2 billion children (persons under 18) in the world. But since Santa doesn't (appear) to handle the Muslim, Hindu, Jewish and Buddhist children, that reduces the workload to 15% of the total - 378 million according to Population Reference Bureau.
At an average (census) rate of 3.5 children per household, that's 91.8 million homes. One presumes there's at least one good child in each.
Assuming that each of these 91.8 million stops are evenly distributed around the earth (which, of course, we know to be false but for the purposes of our calculations we will accept), we are now talking about 0.78 miles per household, a total trip of 71.604 million miles, not counting stops to do what most of us must do at least once every 31 hours, plus feeding etc.
This means that Santa's sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second, 3,000 times the speed of sound. For purposes of comparison, the fastest man-made vehicle on earth, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a poky 27.4 miles per second - a conventional reindeer can run, tops, 15 miles per hour.
Santa has 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the different time zones and the rotation of the earth, assuming he travels east to west (which seems logical).
This works out to 822.6 visits per second. This is to say that for each Christian household with good children, Santa has 1/1000th of a second to park, hop out of the sleigh, jump down the chimney, fill the stockings, distribute the remaining presents under the tree, eat whatever snacks have been left, get back up the chimney, get back into the sleigh and move on to the next house.

Holly 2

Some Interesting Reading
Santa Claus ReadingDuring the Christmas break we need to find time to refresh and recreate ourselves for the coming year.  While we often spend time reading trashy novels, it is important that we don't lose sight of thinking about how we can improve the leadership of our business in 2010.
Therefore I have included a few articles (courtesy of the American Society of Training and Development) that could be added to your Christmas reading.

How to ... Better Engage Your Employees
The Times (London) (02/12/09) P. 71; Hunter, Mark

Experts say there are several effective ways to boost employee engagement at the workplace. Sue Young, principal consultant at Berkshire Consultancy, says training should not be neglected even during difficult economic times. She notes that younger workers in particular prioritise career progression and skills development. "They are looking at life beyond their current organisation and will lose motivation if they don't feel they are getting something that improves their employability," she says. Martin Clarke, senior lecturer in management development at Cranfield School of Management, says engagement involves such things as a variety of perspectives, two-way communication, and employees who feel that top leaders are sincere about employee engagement. This view is shared by Julian Birkinshaw, director of MLab, a research hub at the London Business School.  He asserts that workforces are most engaged when companies are honest with their employees.  "The more information you can give about a decision, the more likely they are to accept it," he says, adding that this is especially true when delivering bad news.  Birkinshaw also believes that employees are more responsive to less management rather than more.  This means that when employees are given a task, they should be told what they should be doing but not get excessive details about how to do it.
For the complete article CLICK HERE

Give Thanks - To Your Employees
Harvard Business Review (11/09) Ashkenas, Ron

According to Ron Ashkenas, the holidays are an ideal time to demonstrate appreciation for employees, especially as many make sacrifices this time of the year to work longer or travel for business. A significant part of maintaining business is recognising that a company's success is a collaborative effort. Ashkenas says it is important to acknowledge operations that work well in a business, while giving positive feedback about these efforts. He notes that employees have demonstrated improved performance if their strengths are highlighted, versus having their weaknesses constantly criticised. The notion of "appreciative inquiry" is popular for leadership development on both a national and international basis. Ashkenas says that showing appreciation for employees has been proven to be more effective than simply increasing salaries and benefits businesses in the long-term, as well.
For the complete article CLICK HERE

By Managing Change, Sprint Wins Employees Over to New Office Strategy

Building Operating Management (01/11/09) Vol. 56, No. 11, P. 14; Williams, Jodi


Moving into a new office space or reconfiguring the existing layout is something that many businesses have to deal with from time to time. Some employees will naturally resist change, but pitfalls can be avoided by implementing a change management program. Such a program can be an effective and proactive way of communicating with and involving many employees in the changes to the workplace, therefore enabling a smooth transition for both executives and staff alike. One such example was Sprint's implementation of "Sprint Mobile Zones," which can be as simple as having space reassigned from individuals to groups or as complex as a complete redesign. At the end of last year, approximately 5,000 people had been moved into Sprint Mobile Zones. The reported 30 percent increase in productivity equated to $4.4 million in annual revenue. Savings continued to increase in 2009, when Sprint was able to shed nearly 1 million square feet of space and cut $25 million in annual real estate costs.

For the complete article CLICK HERE 

Mentoring Is a Key Responsibility of Management (02/12/09


By mentoring and taking responsibility for the professional development of employees, managers can help employees perform better, improve morale, and help a company succeed. Most employees are enthusiastic about the idea of expanding their skills with help from a knowledgeable, senior member of an organisation. To create an atmosphere that encourages mentoring, establish an environment for open dialog about mentoring. Hold a meeting or send out a notice informing staff that mentoring is available, and that interested candidates will be matched with mentors to help them plan and reach their career goals. Employees should be encouraged to think about what they would most like to develop with the help of a senior staff member. Remind senior staff that they also can benefit from mentoring, including receiving new ideas. Support open discussions between junior and senior employees, and encourage them to dispel their preconceptions. In addition to improving the skills of junior employees, mentoring programs can lead to a wave of new ideas and approaches that can advance and strengthen a business. Once employees have started to meet to discuss their professional goals and how to achieve them, support those objectives and be open to applying suggested changes. New techniques and strategies may not always work, but only by trying new ideas can newer and improved business strategies be found. Those being mentored appear to have the most to gain from these programs, but in reality everyone involved is invigorated. Mentors are stimulated by the need among younger workers to learn from their skills and experiences. Mentoring also can improve communication and promote a satisfying, more open work environment.
For the complete article CLICK HERE
We can help you improve your organisation by helping you to engage your employees, communicate more effectively, manage change and develop mentors.  Now is a great time to plan for next year. Give us a call.
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In January the theme of the newsletter will be "Negotiation".
All the Best,
Barry Signature
Barry McMaster
Matrix Vision Pty Limited