2.9.07 - Issue # 257 Forward This Newsletter To A Colleague

Dr. Nancy Haller
Dentist Coach
McKenzie Management
coach@ mckenziemgmt.com
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Leadership Lessons from Groundhog Day

Last week, we ‘celebrated’ Groundhog Day. According to legend, each February 2nd, Punxsutawney Phil – a woodchuck - comes out of his burrow on Gobbler's Knob to predict the weather. If he sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter weather. If he does not, there will be an early spring.

The event is humorously portrayed in the movie Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray. He plays a self-absorbed weatherman who has been assigned to cover the occasion but then gets caught in a snowstorm. Forced to spend the night in the small town, he finds himself trapped in a time warp living the same day over and over again. When he does nothing different, circumstances repeat themselves as they were on the original day. But as he changes his behavior, people respond to his new actions, opening up all kinds of possibilities.

So what does this comedy have to do with leadership? Well surprise, every day is Groundhog Day! The majority of the time we do the same things on any given day. We see the same people, eat the same foods and even engage in the same types of conversation. And we do this month after month, year after year, with very little change.

Marshall Goldsmith, world renowned leadership coach and author of the #1 best selling business book - What Got You Here Won’t Get You Thereaddresses the fundamental problems that hold people back from where they want to be. He notes that success actually prevents ambitious people from being more successful. And since high flyers commonly believe it is their own contribution that accounts for great results, not those of their team, they rarely see themselves as the obstacle. They just continue to do more of the same.

Here are his 20 habits that hold successful people back. How many apply to you?

  1. The need to win at all costs, even when it doesn’t matter
  2. The overwhelming desire to add your two cents into every discussion
  3. The need to rate others and impose your own standards on them
  4. Making destructive comments
  5. Starting with ‘no’, ‘but’, or ‘however’
  6. Telling the world how smart you are
  7. Speaking when angry
  8. The need to share negative thoughts even when you weren’t asked
  9. The refusal to share information in order to gain advantage over others
  10. The inability to praise and reward
  11. Claiming credit you don’t deserve
  12. Making excuses
  13. Clinging to the past
  14. Playing favorites
  15. Refusing to express regret
  16. Not listening
  17. Failing to express gratitude
  18. Punishing the messenger
  19. Passing the buck
  20. Exalting your faults as virtues simply because ‘that’s how I am”

The fact is that as successful people become more successful, the more their problems are behavioral. I would bet my last dollar that the most difficult challenges you face in your office have little to nothing to do with your technical skills as a dentist. The problems are more likely due to YOUR behaviors. And it is only when you come to this realization that you can gain mastery over your practice.

Ahh but where to start?

If you’re not sure, or even if you think you are, ask the people around you, at the office and at home. Since it’s difficult to hear negative feedback and the likelihood is that you’ll get defensive, stack the deck in your favor.

       “I want to improve my skills as a boss (husband, father, friend).
        What can I do to be a better boss (husband, father, friend)? 
        I can’t promise that I’ll be able to do them all, but I will try.”

No matter what people tell you, just say thank you. Don’t argue. Don’t explain. Just say ‘thank you’.

The only real change that will ever be possible must happen within you. Stop repeating the same old behaviors and expecting different results. Like Bill Murray’s movie character, empathize with other people and the way they see you. Like Murray did in the film, create a routine that betters yourself as a person. Do something new each day to expand your competency as an effective leader.

Be aware of how you impact people rather than wandering through each day mindlessly. Be willing to breakthrough, to transform what you do. Be willing to learn and to grow. There is no ‘going back’ but there always is ‘going forward’. I urge you then to make Groundhog Day matter - whether Phil saw his shadow or not.

Dr. Haller is available for dental leadership coaching and development. Contact her at coach@mckenziemgmt.com to find out if you would benefit from one of our leadership programs.

Interested in having Dr. Haller speak to your dental society or study club? Click Here.

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