October 14, 2020
Does anyone else feel like our lives are becoming more and more like the movie “Groundhog Day”? To jog your memory, in the comedy from 1993, Bill Murray stars as Phil Connors, a despondent weatherman who gets trapped in a time loop and relives February 2 over and over again until he finally gets it right.
If the plot of this instant classic resonates with you as we navigate a season with a lot of uncanny parallels, you’re not alone. A podcast I’m a huge fan of called “The Rewatchables” broke down this film and dissected why it’s one they just can’t stop watching, especially right now.
The hosts, Bill Simmons and Sean Fennessey, covered some of the more obvious takeaways through engaging prompts—the classic draw of the déjà vu story arc and how we like to pull for the overcomer. They also got into some of the more granular, interesting details. I.e. Can you imagine how hard it was to act the same scene over and over with just a tiny bit of variance? What about the challenge of building to positive character transformation within the day-to-day repetitiveness, and doing so in a way that keeps making us want to watch the film?
As I was listening to the hosts talk through the most rewatchable scenes from the movie, one transferable takeaway became very apparent to me: the role of perspective. There are a lot of factors that are out of our control right now in the industry—the start and stop of the economy, supply issues, and the need to adjust midstream, to name a few. While we may not be stuck in a time loop like Murray’s character was, there is no clear, immediate end point to this season on the horizon.
People across America wake up every day at home and work at their kitchen table, their kids are online home schooling and people are not traveling. They wake up the next day to do it again. How do we successfully operate in this new environment? As Connors learns and the podcast covers so humorously, it’s all in the shift of our mindset.
When faced with the same challenges repeatedly, instead of throwing in the towel, we have the unique opportunity to look at what is and isn’t working with a critical and measured eye.
This may mean it’s time to expand on what’s driving sales, effectively adding to your customer base or expediting the supply chain process. On the opposite side of the coin, maybe it’s time to rectify what isn’t working. Were items or processes overlooked during busier periods? Is it time to scale to meet demand?
When looking for ways to improve, the natural tendency may be to radically shift the needle. But one practical takeaway in reviewing “Groundhog Day” is the value of building to success in small increments. Connors didn’t go out and get a new identity. He re-evaluated and re-committed to his role as a weatherman. Productive changes started to follow. This is incredibly hard to act out in a film, as “The Rewatchables” podcast covered. And it’s no easier in real life. But it sure helps drive positive transformation.
So, what are the hallmarks of your job and your company? What’s made them so successful? Start there and dig in. Pay close attention to your customers and strategic industry partners. How can you assist within reasonable boundaries or parlay your skillset to cross promote?
At the end of the day, what matters is that we are moving forward with an eye on what we can do. We’re all operating out of a different framework than we were at the start of the year. While I can’t promise focusing on perspective will be the end-all, fix-all, I do know we can work to make sure every day matters.