The One Secret to Success - a Santa-inspired Search

Posted on 18.12.2017
Which parallel can be drawn between a touching Christmas movie and a successful company?

And how can you apply the insights gained from this parallel to survive and thrive in this increasingly complex and demanding world we live in?

Believe it or not: the answer might just be far more straightforward than you thought it would be!

Last Saturday night, my husband and I watched a touching Disney Christmas movie together with our 9-year-old son – “The Search for Santa Paws”.

The movie is about a man, James, who gets to inherit the New York toyshop “Hucklebuckle Toys” from his uncle, on one condition: that he can prove he is capable of making the shop profitable during one Christmas Season. James starts doing everything in his power to decorate the shop in the most attractive ways imaginable. Yet no customers show up. In spite of all of James’ efforts, one vital thing turns out to be missing: James doesn’t believe in the spirit of Christmas, nor does he believe in Santa. His one and only goal is to make Hucklebuckle Toys profitable.

Then something happens that changes the storyline.

James posts an ad in a local newspaper to look for an in-store Santa – his idea being that having a Santa in his shop would attract the customers he so badly wants. As chance would have it, the real Santa (who happens to have gotten lost on the streets of NYC because of a memory loss he suffered after having been involved in an accident) applies for the job, and ends up being the in-store Santa for Hucklebuckle Toys.

Santa does an amazing job: he is able to connect – from heart to heart – with each and every child and adult that visits the shop. Because he treats everyone in the same loving way – regardless of whether they have come with the intention to buy something or not – it doesn’t take long before James can no longer manage the crowds showing up at Hucklebuckle Toys!

So thanks to Santa’s warm and personal approach, a miracle happens on 34th Street: Hucklebuckle Toys becomes famous, and from all over New York people come to visit the shop. The magic of Santa’s warm and appreciative behaviour also makes for the fact that James himself softens up: he starts donating to support children in need for every sale he makes, and in the end he even decides to adopt two of the orphan children that came to visit Santa in the shop.

It goes unspoken that James ends up inheriting Hucklebuckle Toys, and continues the business long after that one Christmas Season has come and gone.

There are so many reasons why this movie really touched me: the fact that you witness people changing from “bad guys” or “non-believers” into “good guys”; the fact that the main character learns to act not only from the mind, but also from the heart – that he learns to look further than the mere numbers, and learns to see the beauty in people; the fact that this movie is full of warm-hearted human interactions…

“So what is the relevance of “The Search for Santa Paws” when considering the success of a company?”, I can hear you ask.Well, the one and only thing that differentiates successful companies from non-successful ones is… the personal and warm interactions of their people! The love, happiness and commitment that you as a customer experience when dealing with those companies.

Successful companies invest in their people by helping them grow - by encouraging them, by appreciating them for what they do. They succeed in connecting with their staff from heart to heart. They treat their people in a very personal way – they show them patience and love and understanding. Because if you, as an employee, feel that someone really takes care of you, that you really matter as a human being, that what you do makes a difference, then you become engaged and motivated to do the same thing for the people that surround you, including the customers you serve.

And it is exactly this human connection and personal touch displayed by the people that work for those very successful companies, that makes for the fact that the customer cxperience in these companies becomes truly exceptional… and thus their business numbers too!

According to Steven Van Belleghem, the more digital the world we live and function in becomes, the more important human connection – once again – becomes. It is the Law of Scarcity: human contact declines in frequency, and therefore its value rises in the eyes of the consumer.

Of course, human connection cannot be programmed, which is why companies should invest in their people so they can offer their customers that which computers can not: empathy, passion and creativity. Because consumers indeed attach a great deal of importance to those attributes, with no less than 7 out of 10 consumers declaring that they prefer having sincere human contact, even when digital channels are functioning perfectly fine.

So, what if we would make a little more effort to open our hearts in the upcoming year? So that we can really see and appreciate the beauty we are surrounded with, and express it through warm-hearted human connection, wherever we go. It is amazing what we will receive back when we decide to invest more in strengthening those human connections. We will not only create more happy employees and loyal customers, but also from a purely financial perspective we will accomplish great profits.

Now, wouldn’t that make for a touching real-life storyline?

Merry Christmas!Nathalie Arteel
Leading Angel Arteel Group
Recognition Expert