February 2nd, at approximately 7:30 a.m. local time on Gobbler's Knob in a small town in western Pennsylvania, 20,000 people and a national radio and television audience anxiously await the prognostication of America's favorite furry forecaster. In a tradition dating back 119 years, Punxsutawney Phil emerges from hibernation?and if he sees his shadow, it's back into the burrow for six more weeks of cold weather.
The celebration of Groundhog Day in America and Canada has its roots in the ancient Roman Feast of Lights and the early Christian tradition of Candlemas Day. However, it took a giant leap in popularity - as did Punxsutawney Phil and the entire town - with the 1993 release of the popular Bill Murray-Andie McDowell movie.
In the film, Murray plays a cynical weatherman - appropriately named Phil - sent to cover Groundhog Day for the fourth straight year. Having made no effort to hide his frustration during the newscast, he goes to bed the night of February 2nd only to awake at 6:00 a.m. the next morning and discover it is Groundhog Day again?and again?and again.
Are you struggling to achieve your goals and grow your small business? Albert Einstein said, insanity is "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." To truly make a leap, you have to commit to doing some things differently.
Success Handler Action: With your team, look at your small business from the "10,000-foot level," identifying areas where issues continually arise. Think about the reasons you keep encountering the same obstacles. Here are some questions to help you get started:
~ What are the things you do best?
~ Where are your biggest and most frequent frustrations?
~ Why are there differences between these results?
~ When was the last time you successfully changed something, and how did you do it?
~ Who are your team members most adept at taking action on new initiatives?
The next step is to determine which areas you want to focus on changing first. Prioritize your challenges by order of highest potential impact on your small business. Then consider possible options for fixing each one. Ask those you trust for their recommendations, and talk to other business owners about how they handle these same issues. The more input you receive, the more likely you'll reach the right conclusions.
Success Handler Action: The best way to improve those situations that are keeping you on a circular treadmill of frustration is to begin addressing your challenges one at a time, taking a proactive approach to change things. Here are five steps for implementing solutions in your small business:
1. Select the option you think is most appropriate for overcoming a specific challenge.
2. Communicate the upcoming change to everyone affected by it.
3. Train key team members, then document in writing the new processes/procedures.
4. Measure the effectiveness of your solution, tweaking wherever necessary.
5. Recognize and celebrate with your team all positive improvements.
Harold Ramis, the director of "Groundhog Day," envisioned Murray's character awakening over and over again for 10 years before finally freeing himself by learning to treat people differently. While that amount of time may have allowed Phil to learn a poem in French, create an ice sculpture and expertly play the piano, it nearly drove him crazy in the process.
Before overloading on your fill of doing the same things and getting the same results - over and over - start changing your approach in a few essential areas. You may just find that tomorrow arrives bright, sunny and with the beginning of six weeks of incredible progress for your small business.
Copyright ? 2005 by Success Handler, LLC. All rights reserved.
The Coach, David Handler, is the founder of Success Handler, (http://www.successhandler.com), and specializes in helping small business leaders, franchisees and franchisors find clarity and take action. He understands the challenges of running a business, because he's been there ? as a small business owner, franchisee, franchisor, corporate leader and trainer. Much like sports coaches, his coaching will show you how to compete on a level playing field in your industry.