By Gina Trimarco, Chief Results Officer

Contributor: Karen Stone Mickool, Culture Curation Specialist

Secret Santas, potluck luncheons, party planning, cookie exchanges, school concerts, class parties…chances are you and your employees are involved in at least a few of the above.  Not to mention, cyber shopping, meal planning, travel arrangements and more—all done from the “privacy” of their own offices or cubicles.   What—wait!  This is what my employees are doing at work??

Well, yeah, possibly!  So how do you get them to get back to business without coming across like a Scrooge?   How do you keep your business on track and on schedule when your employees have everything but business on their minds??  It’s all about FOCUS, my friends!

First, acknowledge that everyone is overloaded!  Find ways to give your employees the opportunity to FOCUS on their needs with the agreement that they will then FOCUS on business needs.  There are lots of ways you can do this!  Here are just a few:

  • Allow employees an extended lunch hour once or twice during the holidays to run errands
  • Let employees plan a holiday gathering or meal for the company and give them limited time at work to plan
  • Suggest employees take the first 30 minutes or last 30 minutes of their shift to accomplish “secret” holiday business and calls they want to keep secret from home
  • Announce holiday bonuses or gifts from the company early enough that employees can count that turkey or gift card in their planning
  • Allow all employees a “leave early” afternoon or evening to make it to the school concert or the mall or just to take a nap!

YES, there’s a financial cost involved in this—AND it’s likely that the costs are considerably less – and considerably more appreciated than whatever other holiday gesture you were considering.

In exchange for whatever you choose to offer, let your employees know that when they are working, you expect them to be FOCUSED and engaged in the business.  And the best way to ensure that happens is by role-modeling the behaviors you want to see.  After all, if you sit at your desk, surfing the Internet for that elusive toy that is the ONLY thing your six-year-old wants from Santa, you can hardly expect your employees to do anything different!

This is the time to be engaged, involved, and interacting with your employees even more than usual. 

Show them that you are FOCUSED by your actions—rather than your demands.  If you need extra help at the front desk or cash registers during the holidays, make sure that you are on the floor pitching in – at least enough to show you are aware of the needs.

Talk to your employees about all the things you are FOCUSED on—the business ones that is—and demonstrate by your planning and organization that both business and personal agendas can be accomplished at the same time.

Here are some things you can do to ensure your focus and ultimately, theirs:

  • Review your financials year-to-date to make sure you’re on track
  • Revise and re-set your revenue goals for the balance of the year if needed
  • Plan out the activities needed to happen to hit those goals
  • Schedule those activities on your calendar
  • Schedule EVERYTHING else on your calendar, including lunch, drive time, reading email, holiday shopping, family time, cooking, client fulfillment, planning, etc.; you’ll be less stressed when you know that you have a plan and a schedule for accomplishing your goals
  • Allocate personal time for eliminating stress, whatever that means for you. Maybe that’s exercise, shopping, meditation, reading a book, taking an improv class, watching TV, or attending a comedy show. (I actually schedule breathing on my calendar; it makes me laugh when I get an email schedule reminder to BREATHE.)
  • Respond, don’t REACT, to unexpected and stressful situations
  • Laugh it off and find empathy for unreasonable and rude people; they don’t have a plan and schedule like you do
  • Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t complete every goal-oriented task; celebrate what you accomplish
  • Have an accountability partner or coach you can turn to for support

Above all, remember that to FOCUS on the things that you can control, the things that make a difference and the things that bring you JOY!

Happy Holidays from the Pivot 10 Crew to all of you…

– Gina

When you pivot, the team keeps playing!

P.S.  Need help pivoting your holiday strategy or planning your FOCUS for 2017?  We can help! Let’s talk … call us at 843-597-6393.

P.P.S. Need some inspiration from modern leaders who know how to shift their cultures to success? Listen to The Pivotal Leader podcast, now on iTunes, Stitcher and Google Play Store.


Gina Trimarco, Chief Results Officer, knows how toGina Trimarco, Pivot10 Results, Business Coach, Sales Trainer pivot to profits from problems and find joy through the process. Her philosophy is that performance pays and people need to be trained to perform on the stage of business to achieve results.

Gina successfully pivoted from her entertainment company Carolina Improv Company to spinning off Pivot10 Results, a strategic training and consulting firm that helps business teams to quickly adapt their communications and engagement skills in leadership, customer and sales to achieve results by providing them experiential learning tools and strategies.

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About the author

Gina Trimarco is a native of Chicago and CEO/Founder of Pivot10 Results and Carolina Improv Company. She has 25+ years of experience in marketing, sales, operations and people training. Gina combines street smarts and improv comedy skills with her experience in the corporate and entrepreneurial worlds, which sets her apart from her competition.

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