Groundhog Day 2024


The Pennsylvania Dutch weather lore states that a groundhog emerging from its burrow on February 2nd can predict an early spring. If the groundhog sees its shadow (due to clear weather) it will retreat to its den and winter will persist for six more weeks, and if it does not see its shadow (because of cloudiness) spring will arrive early. A fun tradition which should be cherished. 

The problem is since 1888 Punxsutawney Phil (the most famous weather predicting groundhog) has only been correct 39% of the time. You could flip a coin and do better than this rodent!

Looking at Groundhog day through our Lean Six Sigma / problem solving filters I ask you: Have you experienced a work situation where one person is deemed “the expert” to make decisions? How did that work out? More often than not those single individuals deliver less than optimal solutions when compared to decisions made by teams, especially when it comes to complicated, cross functional problems.  

As Lean Six Sigma facilitators we recognize there is usually more than one way to solve a problem. We are looking for solutions that are:

  1. The least amount of effort
  2. Can be developed at the lowest possible cost
  3. Can be implemented quickly
  4. Has the greatest impact on the problem

When solutions are compared in this manner teams can objectively choose the optimal solution for the situation. The Lean Six Sigma person’s ability to facilitate activities and conversations that synergistically develops potential solutions is a primary skill we bring to our organizations. 

While Punxsutawney Phil is awesome and cute, I would not trust him make organizational decisions – he doesn’t have a great track record. My prediction is Phil will see his shadow and Kansas City will win the super bowl. Wonder if the casinos would let me parlay that bet.  

Happy Groundhog Day!


“This is one time where television really fails to capture the true excitement of a large squirrel predicting the weather.” ~ Phil Conners in movie “Groundhog day”