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A Christmas Story 4.0

Laura Naxera
20 December 2018

On a late, cold December night, the managing director of a medium-sized company sat alone in his office after the last big meeting of the year. He wondered what to do about his company. Business was not going as well as it once was, the threat of disruption was becoming more and more present, and employees were unable to do anything about it. A familiar sound dragged him from his thoughts and made him open his mailbox. It was a new e-mail. The addressee was the "Spirit of Christmas Past." A video was attached to the mail, and the managing director wondered what it could be about.

He opened the video and was surprised to see that it showed the Christmas party a few years ago. A festive location, a full buffet, and gifts for all employees as a thank-you for a successful business year. These things were no longer possible due to the scarcity of resources and lack of income. "Those were good times," the managing director thought as he looked back on the old scenes with melancholy. Frustrated, he closed the video and put the mysterious e-mail in the trash.

Just then, a second e-mail came in. The managing director was astonished when he saw the addressee, as it was the "Spirit of This Year's Christmas." "Somebody's making a nice joke here," he thought, but he still opened the second mail. Again it was a video, this time showing current scenes of the employees sitting together with their families for Christmas. They complained about work and expressed their fear of the future, about how the bad business would affect their private lives. They discussed their thoughts about changing jobs. Deep down, the manager knew that he was responsible for this situation. He had refused to start new digital projects – why would he? The numbers had always been above average. "All hokum," he suddenly thought, not wanting to admit his mistakes. And so, the second e-mail was also put into the trash.

Almost immediately, he received a third e-mail. The sender was the "Spirit of the Future Christmas." The subject line was ominous: "This is your last warning." The managing director anxiously opened the video attached. He was shocked to find that it showed himself, visibly aged. His hair was grey and his face was covered with wrinkles. He sat in the place where he was sitting now, his gaze directed at a sheet of paper in front of him. Looking at the paper, he almost fell off the chair – it was an insolvency petition. The scene changed and showed empty offices. Where were his employees? With a sigh, he signed the document in the video. "If only I'd acted sooner," his onscreen version said. Abruptly, the video ended with the words, "This is your future if you don't act." Bathed in sweat, the managing director closed all windows on his computer and went home quickly. The scenes in the videos gave him a sleepless night.

When the managing director came to work the next day, his employees wondered what had happened to him overnight; his mentality was completely different. He was approving new strategies, building digital channels as well as a new infrastructure, and actively looking at how to make his employees happier. His changed behavior spoke for itself. Within three months, the employees were clearly more productive, and new organic customers were welcomed. In the end, he successfully transformed his company, and its future was assured.

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