Buddy the Elf says the Brave New World of Christmas Services has changed beyond recognition. Ever since Earthly Rewards Management Consultants got involved in the business of the North Pole, change seems to be the only thing that's constant.
"I was nervous at first, not knowing how my world - my comfortable little life I'd been living for the past 200 years - would change", he tells me over a cup of hot cocoa in Covent Garden. "The first revolution was the outsourcing of our gift wrapping department to India. That was a shock. Colleagues and friends I'd known for a couple of centuries just suddenly weren't along the corridor from me any more and I had to adapt the way I did my own job to liaise with a completely new team of colleagues in a totally different location - who I would never get to meet face to face. The next shock was the outsourcing of the Naughty and Nice lists to a Managed Services Provider in Ireland. We all anticipated disaster. But I have to say that apart from one or two small glitches in the very earliest days, the transition has actually gone very well. And it's certainly lowered the level of stress we used to see around here. O my word! I remember that moment every year when Twinkle would be found in a heap of jangled nerves on the floor of the processing room, entangled in a never-ending ribbon of paper, her face the colour of her scarlet waistcoat. Thank goodness those days are over.
We all worried that the Spirit of Christmas would be lost in this new efficiency drive, that quality would be compromised and the heart would go out of the business. But if anything, I think life has improved. At the North Pole, with all the non-core activity happening elsewhere, we can now focus on what we do best - and what I love doing best - hand-crafting toys for the children. Everything here is now focussed on that element and making sure we all do it to the very best of our ability.
And with our new "Elf Engagement Programme" giving us golden opportunities to talk to The Big Man about our daily lives and work, how things could be made more efficient, and at the same time how our working lives could be made more fun - we have developed a new company mantra: "Work to Live". I even have more free time now to keep in touch with my family and friends - including my old chums from the gift-wrapping department, now working for Amazon in the next town."
So life is quite merry for our Buddy. And may your Christmas be too!
This picture shows the tree in situ, now wonderfully decorated by some of the Portesbery children who are severely autistic or have similar learning difficulties.
So lawyers have hearts? Most definitely. This is the proof.
I asked for a little help from my (twitter) friends, in making last minute suggestions for books to buy the lawyer in your life this Christmas. With only seven shopping days left til Christmas (yikes!), we thought you'll probably be grateful for any Amazon-enabled solutions.
Here are some of the suggestions:
Always a fan of tales about innovation and revolution, @LegalTwo recommended Charles Arthur's Digital Wars, which recounts the story of the battle between Apple, Google and Microsoft and is interesting for anyone interested in seismic market change. As @LegalTwo puts it, it's a story of "how lazy incumbents get found out by people who truly understand the customer experience."
@LBCWiseCounsel has a new book out this year that any forward-thinking lawyer will love: The Tale of the Old Badger, the Young Fox and the Wise Owl discusses the general topic of adapting to change and how to skill up to grab the new opportunities emerging.
Lastly, a reminder of two books out this Winter from Kogan Page that have featured in this blog before: David Tovey's Principled Selling - How to Win More Business Without Selling your Soul; and Jo Larbie and Heather Townsend's How To Make Partner And Still Have A Life.