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Monday Morning Notes
April 18, 2011
from the desk of Chuck Violand... 

Good Monday morning, <<First Name>>—  

Today I conclude the Monday Morning Note series on Groundhog Day Management by summarizing the key points I’ve tried to illustrate throughout.
Fortunately Groundhog Day Management isn’t fatal in most organizations, and it is curable. But it takes constant vigilance to recognize it when it appears and then a concerted effort to correct it when it does. Your effort is well worth it, though. You just might end up feeling the way Phil Connors does at the end of the movie!




by Chuck Violand... 

          The overriding message throughout this series has been that the successes we enjoy, and the challenges we face, in our business are best addressed when we look to ourselves for solutions and avoid pointing fingers at other people or outside events.
            Small businesses are largely reflections of the people who run them. This is especially true of the owner. If you feel there are improvements that can be made in your company, start by holding up a mirror and asking yourself what you need to do to grow as a business leader. What are the skills you need to learn; what are the leadership characteristics you need to develop?
            It’s when we fail to hold ourselves accountable that we turn to blaming outside forces (economy, markets, employees, customers, etc.) for our situation. At that point is when we unknowingly commit ourselves to our own Groundhog Day.
            Escaping Groundhog Day management starts with Focus: our ability to articulate in writing the handful of priorities most important to accomplish at that specific stage in our company’s growth.  The operating words here are “handful” and “in writing”.
            A handful of priorities are not less than three, and not more than five. When we have too many things to focus on we end up focusing on nothing. As a result we accomplish little because we’re constantly changing direction based on the newest “priority” that comes our way. Our company is never able to gain any traction.
            When we don’t commit our priorities to writing we subconsciously give ourselves an out if executing on them becomes too difficult. Worse yet our people can’t possibly know for sure what our plan is or what their accountabilities are.
            Focus is then followed by Discipline. Discipline starts with our ability to follow through on the priorities we’ve established for our company. It’s our ability to execute on the strategies we’ve chosen to accomplish the things we wrote in our plan.
            Discipline also has to do with accountability. It means holding ourselves accountable for the results in our business—whether they end up being good or bad. It means holding our people accountable to produce the results required of their positions. Just as importantly it means holding ourselves accountable to our people to deliver on the promises we make.
            Finally discipline sometimes means we, as owners of our company, have to get out of our own way. Each of us brings strengths and weaknesses to our ability to lead our business. It’s critical that we learn to build on our strengths while we mitigate our weaknesses.
            Fortunately the movie Groundhog Day has a happy ending. More fortunate still is the fact that you and your company can also have many happy endings. Just like Phil Connors, the weatherman, had to move beyond his self-absorbed nature before he could escape his personal Groundhog Day, we’ll be able to move beyond Groundhog Day Management in our company much sooner once we master Focus and Discipline. 


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