We are a few days into advent and there are already lessons to be learned, particularly for those in leadership positions. That’s right, we have even found Business Improvement inspiration amongst all the excitement of the countdown to Christmas!
So, whether you have indulged in a luxury candle calendar or have stuck with classic chocolate, here’s what you can learn from your Advent treat.
The lessons of Advent
Successful leaders understand that providing a team with a clear goal is vital. After all, how can you expect people to follow you if they don’t know where you are going? But, what leaders all too often fail to recognise is that, over time, the goal alone is not enough to keep a team going – even if that goal is as shiny and exciting as Christmas day…
The Advent calendar is a reminder to all leaders that to truly keep your team motivated throughout the process, you must provide them with a way in which they can monitor and assess their progress – an opportunity to count how many doors have been opened, and how many are left to get through. Or in other words, a regular way of looking at how far they have come and how much more they must do to achieve their goals.
An effective time frame
Not only does the countdown maintain motivation levels, but the clear time frame of your Advent calendar is conducive to effective time management. Whether you have the traditional 24 day calendar, or are fortunate enough to be treated to one with 25 doors, your Advent calendar provides a clearly defined start and end point; an agreed time frame within which your festive preparations must be completed.
And as they are often decorated with your favourite festive characters and offer a daily treat to entice us back each day, these eye-catching reminders of our time frame are almost unmissable. Even the most unorganised of spouses are unlikely to forget to buy you a present in time for Christmas day if you have purchased the perfect calendar to help them countdown the days.
So, for leaders looking to increase their team’s ability to remain within a deadline, learn from the tried and tested ways of the Advent calendar: Communicate the time frame clearly, provide them with visual reminders, and perhaps entice them with the occasional treat.
The power of an incentive
Perhaps the most obvious lesson we can learn from an Advent calendar is the power of the right incentive. Just consider how often your forget to tick off a date in your diary or can’t remember what day it is during the first 11 months of the year. Now compare it to the number of doors you have forgotten to open on your advent calendar this December? If you’re a real chocoholic (like me), then it’s likely you’re pretty vigilant with your timekeeping this time of year, all because you have been incentivised effectively.
But this is not to suggest that you begin hiding chocolate treats beneath the pile of paperwork you want your team members to complete. Instead, it is a gentle reminder that the right incentive is always appreciated. And an incentive doesn’t have to be financial, as we have discussed before, many people consider career development opportunities one of the most motivating offerings. In fact, you’ll be surprised how much you and your organisation can benefit just by opening doors* for your employees.
In short, Advent is another great opportunity for leaders to reflect on how they can improve their ability to make the most of their team. So, as you open each new door this December, take a moment to reflect on the ways in which you are keeping your team motivated, on track and inspired: Would your team benefit from a clearer countdown to goals, or perhaps they could do with a treat from time-to-time?
If you’re still on the lookout for an Advent calendar to keep yourself motivated until you leave the office for your festive break, then take a look at our online Advent calendar. With a range of Christmas games, discounts and exciting prizes behind each door, it is certain to get you in the Christmas spirit!
*This refers to the opening of professional doors, not the opening of advent calendar doors. Note that leaders who open their team members’ advent calendars are likely to decrease motivation and may encounter mutiny.