Tony DeMeo

The Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer Rule

With the Christmas Season upon us “The Rudolph the Reindeer Rule” seems like an appropriate rule to share. This rule is a short excerpt from my book: Common Sense Rules for Everyday Leaders that features close to 100 of these types of rules that every leader can find helpful. Signed copies will be available on my website & would be a great Christmas gift.

The Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer Rule

“If you have a shiny red nose; bide your time until the fog rolls in.”

Everyone knows the story of Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer. His story was immortalized in song and passed on through generations. Christmas wouldn’t be official without someone singing about Rudolph’s heroics. ‘

For those of you who don’t know the story or were born on the planet Mars; here’s a quick synopsis. Little Rudy was born with a shiny red nose and all of Santa’s other reindeer laughed at him and teased him. He was never invited to any reindeer games. Life was tough for Rudolph, he was an outcast. He couldn’t get in with the other reindeer. Then as fate would have it; there was one particular Christmas Eve that was exceptionally foggy. Santa was desperate and needed help to guide his sleigh. Well guess what the old boy did? He called on the outcast, the one that everybody teased. Rudolph obliged and led the sleigh for Santa and went down in history as a hero; the reindeer that saved Christmas. After that everyone loved Rudy, he was invited to all the reindeer games, to join the country club and got a reserved parking space etc. Take that Prancer.
Everybody has been a “Rudolph” whether you are starting a new job or moving to a new neighborhood or somewhere you’ve been an outsider looking in. If you ever get fired, believe me you won’t be going to too many reindeer games. So what do you do? Get angry, lose confidence and go into a shell? You do what The Red Nose Wonder did. Wait for your time to come and then make the most of it when it does come. There’s an old saying “every dog has its day” I guess it pertains to reindeer also.

There’s a great leadership lesson in The Rudolph saga. Let’s take a look at the benefits of The Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer Rule.

1. As a leader don’t allow hazing of a new employee. Make sure everyone in your organization feels comfortable. You never know where your star will emerge from. When Mickey Mantle showed up for the Yankees spring training carrying a straw suitcase and wearing a six dollar suit; everyone thought he was just a hick from Oklahoma. Until he hit a baseball.

2. Be prepared for your “foggy night”. When you’re called on to be the leader; be ready. Prepare knowing YOUR DAY WILL COME. Have patience and prepare daily. Herschel Walker, the third string tailback for the University of Georgia in the opening game against The University of Tennessee. But once Herschel got in the game he ran over, around and through the Vol’s defense and became an All-American as a freshmen.

3. Never let a water cooler bully get under your skin. Excellence overcomes everything. Becoming excellent at your job is the best answer to teasing.

4. Don’t take part in the bullying and hazing of someone else. Just because you are not the victim doesn’t free you of responsibility. Come to the defense of those being teased and you will add value to your team. You never know when that reindeer with that funny shiny red nose will save the day.

5. Follow up on your big night. People have short memories. We don’t know what Rudolph did for the rest of his reindeer career, but I hope he parlayed his foggy night victory into something long term. Maybe a corner stall or possibly extra hay. I know he cashed in on royalties on that best-selling catchy song. No one knows how many foggy Christmas Eves there are going to be; so make hay while you can.

The story of Rudolph’s rise from laughing stock to hero should be an inspiration to everyone who has never been part of the “in crowd” for whatever reason. Just remember The Rudolph the Reindeer Rule. How many of those reindeer that were laughing at Rudolph ever had a best-selling hit song written about them?