The overriding message throughout this “Groundhog Management” series has been that the challenges we face all come back to to US as business owners or managers. (And of course we also deserve the credit when things go well!) Simply put…
Small businesses are 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 some huge questions: “What do I need to do to grow as a business leader? What are the skills I need to learn? What are the leadership characteristics I 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. And yes, blaming others is when we unknowingly commit ourselves to our very own Groundhog Day. Let’s review…
Escaping Groundhog Day management starts with Focus: articulating 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 you have too many things to focus on you end up focusing on nothing. As a result you accomplish little because you are constantly changing direction based on the newest “priority” that comes your way. Your company is never able to gain any traction. And even worse…
When you don’t commit your priorities to writing you subconsciously are giving yourself an “out” if executing on them becomes too difficult. Worse yet your people can’t possibly know for sure what your Plan is or what their accountabilities are.
Focus is then followed by Discipline. Discipline starts with your ability to follow through on the priorities (see above) you have established for our company. Discipline is your ability to execute on the strategies you have chosen to accomplish the things you wrote done in your Plan.
Discipline also has to do with Accountability. It means holding yourself Accountable for the results in your business—whether they end up being good or bad. It means holding your people Accountable to produce the results required of their positions. Just as importantly it means holding yourself Accountable to your people to deliver on the promises you make to your customers.
Finally Discipline sometimes means you, as the owner or manager of your company, have to “get out of your 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”! Remember that Phil Connors, the Groundhog Day weatherman, had to move beyond his self-absorbed nature before he could escape his personal Groundhog Day. In the same way we’ll move beyond Groundhog Day Management in our company much sooner once we master “Focus” and “Discipline.”