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Seize His Shadow

Groundhog It's Groundhog Day - a day proliferating the myth that a rodent can predict the weather six weeks out.  Personally, the day means nothing to Iowans.  There will almost always be foul winter weather during the high school basketball tournaments in March.  And spring doesn't really arrive until my neighbor, Ann, and I come out of our mutual hibernations and have our first prolonged driveway chat.

But for a moment, let's assume this myth about seeing the shadow thing is true.  We then have another example of how systems ignorance (the opposite of systems thinking) can mess up decision-making.

Dissect this with me.  The groundhog makes a decision to leave his home and go outside.  If he DOES NOT see his shadow, he decides everything is okay, and he can stick around for a while (thereby ushering in spring).  If he DOES see his shadow, however, he freaks out, decides outside is unsafe, and scurries back into the safety of his abode.

Pretty absurd, eh?

A manager (or executive, or any other form of so-called leader) pokes his head out of his organization into the world at large.  Seeing nothing threatening out there, he (or she, to be fair) decides that the environment is non-threateningly great and that he and his organizational can flourish.  However, if the rodent manager sees that his actions (shadow) have had an impact on the outside environment, he becomes freaked out and retreats back into his cubicle, hoping a prolonged status quo will prevail.

OK, that's a little tongue-in-cheek.  As organizational groundhogs, we need to seize the shadow.  We need to recognize our role that our outputs are having on the environment around us.  If we do see those impacts (positive or negative), we need to be accountable for them, embrace them, seize them, and own them.  And if that means fixing them, so be it.

Will you simply see your shadow today?  Or will you also seize your shadow as well?


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