(Time to read this Blog is about 2 minutes)

Before we get to the main topic, here are a few things to get you thinking:

  1. My Biz Quote of the week:
    “Your Team can’t practice effective ‘followership’ if you don’t master effective leadership.  And yet, you’ll blame them, because that’s much easier.  Effective leadership starts with ‘clarity’.  What do you commit to do to be a more effective leader in 2022?
    …Donald Cooper
  1. Calculate a ‘Clarity Score’ for your business or department. As a business owner, leader or manager, your 1st job is ‘clarity’.  Without ‘clarity’ at every level of your business, there can be no clear focus, compelling value, team commitment, urgency or accountability. And ‘clarity’ begins with you.
    To receive my transformational insights about ‘clarity’ and calculate a ‘Clarity Score’ for your business or department, click here to download one of my most insightful Biz Tools #A-4.  
  1. The world’s easiest and best Shortbread Cookies.   Holiday time is cookie time! To download my recipe for the best ‘melt-in-your-mouth’ shortbread cookies you’ll ever make, click here.


Now, to this week’s important topic:

Let’s stop this ‘Christmas Bonus’ nonsense!

Paying your staff a ‘bonus’ to coincide with the birth of a baby 2000+ years ago makes absolutely no sense at all.  There…I said it! 

Jesus wasn’t even born on December 25th.  Most scholars agree that he was born sometime around March 21st.  His early followers cleverly chose December 25th to celebrate the event to tie in with an existing Pagan Festival of ‘the sun god’ in an attempt to interest pagans in Christianity.  This was probably the world’s first example of ‘stealth marketing’…but I digress.

So, why not give your staff a ‘First Day of Spring Bonus’, a ‘Halloween Bonus’ or, even better, a ‘Thanksgiving Bonus’?   Or, just make it a random act of kindness.

Bonuses should be earned based on performance and not based on scripture, time of year or some manufactured holiday.  If you want to give your staff a Christmas gift, that’s great; I’m all for celebration, acknowledgement and joyfulness.  But a ‘bonus’ generally has something to do with performance and Christmas ‘bonuses’ typically don’t.  Just call it what it is…a ‘gift’.  Give them a turkey (or tofu), a box of cookies, a nativity scene hand-painted in China, or give them a cheque, if you wish…but call it what it is – a gift. 

Christmas Bonuses may be well-intentioned…but they’re expected, taken for granted and, therefore, mostly ineffective as either a reward or an incentive. To tie bonuses to performance, consider these 4 steps…

  1. First, work with your Team to get clarity about what specific things must happen in every part of the business, in the next year, to deliver your commitments to customers, to the bottom line, to your staff Team, to your community and to the planet.
    While you’re at it, get clarity about how the business will have to change, improve and grow to be extraordinary, profitable and sustainable in 3 to 5 years.  For this you can check out my 34-page ‘Vision Critical Guide’  Click here.
  1. For every initiative and activity you commit to, get agreement as to specifically what will be done, by whom, by when, at what cost, with what outcomes, measured how. Document those commitments.
    There needs to be an effective way to follow up on performance at specific intervals throughout the year, so that corrective action can be taken, if necessary, before it’s too late.  This is how you create commitment, urgency and accountability.  Remember, businesses don’t die from a single shot to the head.  They die, slowly but surely, from a thousand uncompleted tasks.  The world is run by those who follow up.
  1. Make sure that the training, technology, systems, processes, resources, empowerment and business culture are in place to support your Team.
  2. Finally, everyone needs to know why what we do as a business, and their specific role in it, matters. How do we individually and collectively make a difference?
    They also need to know what their individual and / or group reward will be for ‘success’…and what the business, Team and individual consequences will be if we don’t succeed.
    Sure, this is a lot more work than slipping into a Santa Suit and passing out Christmas cheques based on some faint hope that your business actually made money this year…but the 4 steps outlined above are what effective management is really all about.  It’s why you get the ‘big bucks’!  


That’s it for this week…

Stay safe…live brilliantly!       

Donald Cooper 


Donald Cooper speaks and coaches internationally on management, marketing, and profitability.  He can be reached by email at donald@donaldcooper.com in Toronto, Canada.

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