Groundhogs Make Lousy Meteorologists


Wiarton Willie predicts an early spring. Ha, ha, ha, ha…

The problem is that I don’t think the average groundhog really cares about whether or not we’re going to have an early spring. And judging by the fact that Wiarton Willie averages about 37% accuracy, I don’t think he particularly cares about being accurate either. We would be better off flipping a coin.

Yet every year, we trot out the TV cameras and newspaper reporters. There are street festivals, and even the mayor puts in an appearance to see if the local groundhog sees his shadow or not. It verges on the ridiculous. Yet, we keep doing it, over and over again.

That tells me that we value people who give us hope over people who are competent. Even if our current situation is good, we like to believe that the future will be even better. In that regard, the groundhog is right. Spring will come, eventually.

The groundhog is lucky though. He inspires hope without having to do anything other than wake up early on a cold February morning and wander out of his bed. But what about a boss that may be perfectly competent, smart, fair and efficient, yet doesn’t give you the sense that tomorrow you will be any further ahead than you were today?

I don’t think we would like working for them for very long. The hardest thing about working at the last start-up I was with was when my direct boss no longer thought the company would be successful. It was crushing.

So sure, relying on a groundhog to predict the weather is a bit like asking my three year-old to do my taxes. It’s entertaining to watch for a few minutes but doesn’t actually accomplish anything. Unless it makes me think that he has a natural talent for numbers, or organization or artistry. And then maybe it gets me to thinking about how else I can encourage his undiscovered talents. I don’t need much to stay happy. Just a hope and a possibility. That’s what I need the leaders in my life to provide, and that’s what I need to provide to the people looking up to me.

Hope and possibility. The chance to grow. The opportunity to make a difference.

And if we get an early spring, well that’s just gravy on top. 🙂