There are three major magical gift giving people in my children's world: Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy. Let's face it-the first two are awesome. They show up on time and with the goods. But the last? Many, many Tooth Fairies are horrible, unreliable, and sometimes even resort to exchanging the tooth for money while the child is awake.

Why is the Tooth Fairy so unreliable when you can depend on her magical counterparts? The answers can be insightful for your business. Here are some of the reasons:

Deadlines are unpredictable.

Santa knows that Christmas will be December 25. It was December 25 last year, and the year before that, and the year before that. It will be December 25 next year and into the foreseeable future. The Easter Bunny? Well, Easter moves around a bit, but the dates are available years and years in advance. The Easter Bunny can Google if he's confused. But when do teeth fall out? Whenever they darn well please, that's when.

You can have a seven-year-old with a tooth hanging by a thread for weeks, or you can have a different seven-year-old that ties a string to her tooth and connects it to a doorknob as soon as there is the slightest bit of wiggle. The Tooth Fairy doesn't know when she gets up in the morning how many teeth she'll have to exchange for money. She can prepare in advance, but the tooth may come out on a date where she has back-to-back meetings scheduled. It could come out when she's scheduled to be out of town. Most households have a backup Tooth Fairy, but this fairy has proven to be even more unreliable than the head tooth fairy. (I may, or may not, be the backup Tooth Fairy if the Tooth Fairy wasn't real.)

Lessons for your business.

Unpredictable deadlines are hard to work with. Planning things out in advance gives your employees a better chance of achieving success. No matter the workload, they can handle it better when there is a set plan. Making little changes is easier that getting things thrown on them at the last moment.

Her task is small.

Santa and the Easter Bunny have to visit many, many children in one night. The Tooth Fairy? Not nearly as many. Santa brings lots of toys. The Easter Bunny brings lots of candy. The tooth fairy brings a couple of dollars. No creativity is necessary. (And yes, I've seen what some of the Tooth Fairies post on Pinterest. Our Tooth Fairy believes in cash and cash only. Maybe a check.)

Wouldn't a small task be easier than a large task? Shouldn't the easiness of the way mean that she'll get it done on time and properly? You'd think, but often that's not how it works.

Lessons for your business.

Small tasks may be critical, but they are often seen as unimportant. Unimportant things get pushed back until, suddenly, there's not enough time to get everything done. Make sure your employees know how these small tasks fit into the big picture, and they'll be less likely to push them back and more likely to meet the deadlines.

Her task is less defined.

What does the Tooth Fairy even look like? I've referred to the Tooth Fairy as female, but the lead Tooth Fairy at our house is male, and lacks wings and a wand. And what is she supposed to bring? And if your 35-year-old-self goes head over handlebars on your new bike, is the Tooth Fairy supposed to bring you something in exchange for your newly lost tooth? Something other than dental bills, I mean. What if the tooth has a cavity in it? Our Tooth Fairy deducts for that, but I have it on good authority that many Tooth Fairies do not.

All this ambiguity makes it harder to do her job.

Lessons for your business.

If your employees don't know exactly what is expected of them, how can you expect them to perform at high levels? If you don't have a defined dress code, how can you complain when they leave their wings off? Can you complain when she does the bare minimum when you haven't set specific standards? Don't get mad when your employees don't put on tutus when you haven't specified how important they are.

Furthermore, what consequences does the Tooth Fairy have when she fails? She doesn't get whined at; the parents do. Make sure your employees face realistic and practical consequences for failure to finish tasks on time and poor performance in general.