What can we learn from Rudolph?

As Christmas fast approaches and Father Christmas enters the busiest time of his year I would like to share with you a lighthearted reflection on what we can learn from one of his key employees. 

We all know Rudolph don’t we?

Many of us were probably brought up on the story of Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer.

Rudolph was the son of Father Christmas’s lead reindeer Donner.  He was born with a glowing red nose. Unfortunately his father felt ashamed of his unusual appearance and used a special cover to hide Rudolph’s nose.  One day whilst playing with the other reindeer his special cover slipped.  Once the other reindeer saw Rudolph’s nose they started to ridicule him and treated him as an outcast.  Rudolph really struggled to fit in and find a role for himself amongst his fellow reindeer.

However one Christmas Eve there was a strong blizzard which was too much for Father Christmas’s reindeer team to handle due to the poor visibility.  Father Christmas reluctantly decided to cancel the Christmas Eve flight.  But in a flash of inspiration Father Christmas realised that Rudolph’s nose could be used to light the way through the blizzard.  Rudolph was asked to take on the special duty of leading Father Christmas’s sleigh.  And, as we all love a happy ending, with Rudolph leading the sleigh it turned out to be a merry Christmas after all.

The moral of the story

So what is the moral of the story?  It is that no matter who we are, what we do or how we look, we all have strengths.  These strengths might not always be recognised or appreciated by others – but we have them.  Once we understand our strengths and apply them in the right context, magic happens!  

It is our responsibility to know ourselves well enough to understand our strengths and channel them in the right way.

If, like Father Christmas, you are a manager, it is important to understand the strengths of your employees and to channel them effectively.  Sometimes we may not always recognise the strengths that people have.  Marcus Buckingham – one of the world’s leading experts on the strengths based approach in the workplace, sums up the Rudolph principle brilliantly:

“In the minds of great managers, consistent poor performance is not primarily a matter of weakness, stupidity, disobedience, or disrespect. It is a matter of miscasting.”

Once Father Christmas cast Rudolph in a role that channeled his strengths into performance the magic happened!


Wishing you a wonderful Christmas from Luminate.

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