December 13, 2011

Avoid Company Chaos

The Toy Santa Refused to Deliver

Here are some tips from the world’s largest factory and its master toymaker on how he makes decisions regarding what to produce and deliver to avoid company chaos.

In the early 1970’s, Santa received countless letters from children requesting Clackers for Christmas. The workshop did not create the toy, so the Big Guy asked the elves to find samples and test the product. They discovered Clackers were two hard glass-looking balls about one to two inches in diameter hanging from a long durable string. Holding the top of the string and using an up and down motion they were able to build enough momentum to get the balls to swing and knock together above and below the hand.

The elves were addicted. With dexterity and rhythm, the balls “clacked” faster and faster, blending into a cracking melody. Unfortunately, a failed attempt hurled the balls onto the user’s forearm, causing severe bruises and broken bones. Snapped strings and shattered balls resulted in dozens of injuries to elves, as well as reindeer, who by the way, claimed to be simply observing. Production slowed. Chaos reigned. Santa declared no Clackers would be delivered.

I’m happy to report that an updated – safer – version is now being distributed from the North Pole.


Be open to input. Managers, supervisors and front line workers may have different and valuable perspectives. Bring in knowledgeable reputable resources. Create or find samples where needed.


Gather the facts. What do you already know? What do you need to know? What research needs to be done? Factor in all the variables and choose the best alternatives. Analyze the risks and consequences. What is the legal, financial, physical and emotional impact?

Examine & Test

Hold the potential decision up to the light and think out of the box. Examine it from all sides and viewpoints. Discover every potential scenario. Test with an unbiased audience. Think in three’s regarding their comments. If one person says something, pay attention. If two people say the same thing, pay close attention and consider adjusting. If three people say it, change or tweak the product or service.


There are times when we have an “inner knowing” about an issue, yet we can’t rationally explain it. Have the courage to bring that inner voice to the table for consideration. How many times have we acted against our instincts and regretted it?

Final Call

Know who will make the final decision. An individual? A team? Communicate the decision, set a deadline and take action.

Using these tips should help your company avoid chaos, injuries, slowed production and not knowing if your product or service is naughty or nice.


Written by Susan Fix, The Applied Companies Community Liaison Partner. Fix has worked 15 years in staffing services performing outside sales, recruiting, permanent and temporary placement coordination, career counseling, customer service and social media/business.

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