Lessons from the North Pole

The other evening I was watching the TV show, “NCIS.” It was the episode in which the origin of many of Gibbs’ Rules was explained. His rules are an extensive series of guidelines that Leroy Jethro Gibbs lives by and teaches by. One of the rules even applies to Santa Claus, which started me thinking about communications and leadership lessons from the North Pole.

Teamwork is important. Rule 15 states “Teamwork is important.” For Santa to get all the presents made and delivered, he needs a team of elves and they need to work together to succeed. Gibbs was reminding his team of the importance of working together to solve a case.

Contingency plans are vital. No matter how much Santa and the elves prepare, they can’t control the weather. Fortunately, Santa has a great back-up plan when the weather is bad. Yep, Rudolph with his nose so bright saves Christmas. (And if you didn’t know, it’s the 50th anniversary of the airing of the holiday special.)

Letters work. Each year boys and girls – both naughty and nice – take pen, pencil, crayon or marker to paper to plead their case about how good they have been and what gifts they would like (and deserve). Some children are texting and emailing, but letters remain the most popular way to reach Santa. The USPS even has a program to handle the volume. If you do hear back from Santa and want to share your letter with others be sure to tag it #SantaLetters.

Merry Holidays!

Watch Your TV Viewing Habits

I’m conducting an experiment in August – no TV.

Recently, someone asked me what shows I watch. I said I don’t watch much and then listed everything I watch. I was embarrassed – and surprised – by the long list, to say the least.  Of course, I’m not alone in my habit. The average American watches five hours of TV a day, according to Nielsen.

While my habit isn’t that excessive, I realized that TV viewing was cutting into time I could be spending doing other things. Like what? How about –

  1. Reading
  2. Exercising
  3. Gardening
  4. Finishing home improvements
  5. Catching up with friends

Since NCIS is in hiatus, I’m choosing August to give up television to determine how much more productive I can be.

In other words, I could be doing instead of simply observing. So for August (and I admit I planned this so I’d be back to viewing to catch new episodes of my favorite show, NCIS) I’ll keep the TV behind the closed doors of the armoire and see how much I can accomplish.

Who knows, if my productivity soars, I may just give it up permanently and also save some money.

Are You a Distracted TV Viewer?

As I’m watching an episode of “NCIS,” I also am writing this blog. When I’m finished, I need to buy something online. And then I’ll have to update my Facebook page, which may also lead to a game of Bejeweled.

Apparently I’m not alone in my distracted TV viewing habits. An Adweek/Harris Poll shows that Americans are not giving their undivided attention to their TV screens. According to the survey, while watching TV most Americans also

  • Surf the Internet (56%)
  • Read a book, magazine or newspaper (44%)
  • Go on a social networking site (40%)
  • Text on their mobile phone (37%).

The survey did not draw any conclusions as to what the findings mean. And I don’t have time to figure it out because “NCIS” is getting good.