Santa has more in common with learning and development, human resources and organisational development professionals than you might think.

As is the case for Santa and his elves, so much of our work relies on, and revolves, around others.  And like our North Pole friends, December is one of the busiest times for our professions.

This got me thinking about what would be the most valuable gifts Santa could bring busy HR, OD and L&D people, and here’s what I’d ask him to magic up for all of us.

More time and resource

If you work in L&D or organisational development, you’ll know how much pressure a lack of time and resource adds. We end up compromising on quality to meet deadlines and to make up for a lack of expertise, which is never the outcome we planned. And if you work in HR, it’s just as much of a struggle getting critical decisions out of people when they are frantically multitasking.

Increased ability to consult and add value to the business

We all know how frustrating it is knowing that we’re working hard but don’t feel clear on what value we are delivering. It is even worse when we know that the cause of this is our own inability to consult. After all, real change comes not from simply taking orders but from consulting widely and creating solutions based on real needs.

More support from managers

Management support really does sound like a fairy tale, doesn’t it? Imagine what life would be like if decision makers listened to our recommendations and valued our experience. Managers could focus on managing and we would all get a lot more done.

Buy-in from front-line employees

Silence from the front line is one of the biggest obstacles we can face in HR, OD and L&D: after all, how can we address their concerns if we don’t know what they are?

More budget

Money can’t buy happiness, but it certainly smoothes the path towards it. It means we can call on experts to invest in robust systems instead of winging it ourselves. When it comes to HR, learning and development, and organisational development, those systems are increasingly powerful.

Your gift to yourself

Sadly, I’ve not yet taken on magical powers, so we will all have to look closer to home for the answers to our challenges. Often, they are within us: they rely on us speaking up, pushing back and making it clear to stakeholders that we’re experts, not amateurs. The ‘she’ll be right’ approach that made New Zealand what it is still works in many areas, but our people deserve the best of our knowledge and attention.

Forget believing in Santa – let’s start believing in ourselves.