The Chicken and Pig Fable

I was recently reminded of the business fable of the Chicken and the Pig and their commitment to a bacon and eggs breakfast.

The chicken has a passing interest while the pig is totally committed. Of course, neither the chicken or pig really know what they are getting into, but the self-awareness of these animals is not the point of the fable. The point is, which is fully committed to the project or job, or put another way … do they have skin in the game? Or are they dispassionate participant in the process?

Which is better?

Some will say the chicken. The chicken has a passion for laying eggs. Was born to lay eggs. And will lay eggs faithfully for a long time. And what’s wrong with that? Nothing if you want predictability over a long period of time. But usually predictable outcomes are at best average.

The pig on the other hand is totally committed with major skin in the game! The pig will not be around long-term but its contribution is big and significant.

Managers need a mix of employees on their team. While there is a role for the long tenured employee who faithfully executes every day, I also want the employee who is totally committed, works hard every day to exceed goals, and may outgrow the organization in a few years if I can’t provide new challenges or resources. Without significant commitment, the organizational will not be extraordinary.

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So, I’ll take the pig’s extraordinary commitment over the chicken’s predictable passing interest.

Darrell Pardy

p.s. No chickens or pigs were harmed in the production of this blog entry.