Ground Hog Day

Do you remember the movie “Groundhog Day” where Bill Murray kept reliving Groundhog Day? “It’s like deja vu all over again.”

It has now been a month since many of us have made some commitment to creating a change in the new year. How is it going now that you’re 30 days into it? Does it feel like 2014 … deja-vu all over again?

If you feel like 2015 is feeling the same as 2014, consider the effect that accountability can have on your goals. In my work with leaders, no matter the industry or stage in life, I see the greatest change happen for those who pick one item and institute a strict follow-up process involving an accountability partner or coach.

You’ve got 11 months left in 2015. If you want to avoid another “Groundhog Day” next February, now is the time to choose a goal and an accountability partner who will help you work toward it.

Start by answering these 5 questions:

1. What do I want to change?

a. It seems each year when people think about making a commitment to change they focus on weight loss, exercise, stopping smoking or something related to their health. All admirable choices but what got you here in the first place? Why not think of a change that could impact you and those you live and work with for a lifetime? Why not pick a behavior? What might happen if you became the Black Belt in “listening, giving positive recognition, thanking people more often, looking for what’s working with those who report to you, putting your cell phone away when watching your children play sports or during their music recital. Try picking a behavior this year!

2. Why am I focused on changing this behavior or characteristic?

a. Yes- good question! Pick something you want to master, not something others think you should master. If you own it you’ll change it! Pick something that’s doable where you can have some early success.

3. What will be the benefits of making this change, both short term and long term?

a. 70% of my clients want to master the skill/behavior of “listening”. One client was told of his poor listening habits by his staff, colleagues, boss and wife. How many of you had a course in listening during all of your schooling? We are not good listeners as a society yet Fred spent 9 months mastering this behavior. Results: Fred’s team reported feeling more engaged, less rework, better sales results, their opinions were more valued and instituted. Fred was promoted to CEO of the company. He has given 5 Key Note Presentations across the country on Executive Listening. Fred has contracted to write a book on Listening. Each of his direct reports have also picked one behavior to master. We are now watching the cascading effect of changing one behavior in an organization.

b. In the short term Fred became more engaged in the performance of his team and the connections with family and friends. Long term his team and organization developed important skills and key results resulting in superior performance!

4. What will be the impact on me, my family, my work, and my community?

a. Jose decided he needed to become more positive at work, home and his community. We agreed that he would look for ways to recognize and compliment others. As a technical expert in his field he was always looking for problems and what wasn’t working as a way to solve problems. His staff and family felt criticized when in fact he was using his problem solving skills to get results. He didn’t realize the impact his behavior was having on those around him. Jose practiced by thanking people, looking for ways to compliment his direct reports and recognizing people for their good work at home and at the office.

b. Guess what? He began feeling better about himself, his family enjoyed spending time with him and his workforce became more engaged, more of a team and more willing to go the extra mile for Jose. Just because he decided to become more positive in his thoughts and comments.

5. What will I be feeling, sitting in my rocking chair at age 90, having NOT made this change?

a. I have just turned 60 this year. I turned to my wife the other day and told her that I wished I had learned how to play a musical instrument. Of course her response was, “it’s not too late to start.

6. Keys to making a change that sticks!

a. Pick ONE behavior
b. Follow-up: Pick 3-5 people and tell them what you’re working on improving.
c. Check in every 30 days and ask them:

  • What changes have you seen?
  • What has been the impact on you and your team based on my changes?
  • What one tip do you have for me as I continue to master this behavioral change?

Are you ready to commit?

d. Once mastered write down all the positive changes that have occurred with those around you because of your change!

If you are committed to making a behavioral change contact Whit for a complimentary behavioral DISC Talent Report. Discover your behavioral style with tips for how to master your 2015 change for life.

Yogi Berra: It’s deja-vu all over again. Make sure 2015 is “The Year of Change.”

if you’d like more information on addressing the upcoming Leadership Drought, click here.

Whit Mitchell is an Executive Coach and Team Dynamics Expert. He is the author of: Working In Sync-How Eleven Dartmouth Athletes Propelled Their College Sports Experience into Professional Excellence.

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