7 Principles of the Pig
If you have a team of pigs, fall in love with bacon.
The people on your team reflect the future of your organization.
The future begins with who’s on your team, not where you want to go. First ask, “Who is on the team?” After that, ask, “Where can they take you in the near future?”
It doesn’t matter how badly you want eggs, if you’re surrounded by pigs.
Before trying to lead, accept people for who they are. It’s sabotage to wish pigs were chickens, if you don’t plan to replace them.
Pigs love mud and slop. Pigs in a chicken coop won’t give you eggs. Feed them chicken food and you’ll still end up with bacon.
Pigs will be frustrated if you reject their pigginess and so will you.
Thriving with pigs:
If you treat pigs like pigs you’ll get lots of bacon, but you’ll never get eggs.
Seven principles of the pig:
- Pigs don’t lay eggs.
- Treat pigs like pigs if you want them to thrive. Acceptance is one of the great gifts leaders extend to people.
- How might you ignite pig-passion, rather than imposing chickenness.
- Training won’t help. If you want eggs, find some chickens.
- Rewards and punishment won’t help pigs act like chickens.
- Ask yourself where pigs can take you. Go there.
- If pigs can’t take you where you need to go, replace them with chickens, or buy a new farm.
Even if you could convince pigs to go to chicken heaven, they wouldn’t thrive and neither would you.
The beginning of the future is accepting the people on your team.
How might leaders learn to thrive with their current team members?
Reward and punishment won’t help pigs act like chickens — love it, love it, love it!
Thanks Mark. 🙂
I love bacon and I love this post. Can I be a hybrid of a chicken and a pig?
Definitely passing this on to every leader I love. What a great big smile I now have to start my day.
Thanks James. So, can someone be a Chig? Great question.
If you see a bristle or two on a chicken, it may be a pig. If you see a feather or two on a pig, it may be a chicken. Cull the herd to the desired species before moving on.
Too many people masquerade as someone else as they look out for their own interests. A person I know quite well recently changed the headline on his resume to “serial cleantech entrepreneur”. That person has held a series of jobs in cleantech, earning good money as an executive, yet underperforming badly and leaving chaos in his wake. He has never been an entrepreneur, a risk taker with his own money, or an effective leader. The feathers show….
Others with less pizzazz may not impress as much at first meeting, yet are better for the organization.
Dan, thank you for your post. As Jim Collins said, it is very important to get the right people on the bus. Our job as leader includes determining that people are who they say they are.
This is the first thing that popped into my mind, having heard the same old ag reference. It got in the way of the analogy a little for me, but they are still great points.
An old ag joke: The animals wanted to thank the farmer for all he had done by making him breakfast. The cow offered milk, the chicken eggs, and they asked the pig for bacon.
The pig said, “It’s all good for you to make a contribution, but you are asking me for a sacrifice!”
If you have a team of pigs, don’t sacrifice them to get the bacon.
I like the version that the Hen is involved, but the Pig is committed. And I truly like this post. Thanks
Thanks for sharing Dan…but how true it really is…
Dan … I think you need to eat your breakfast before you write 🙂
Would you apply this same logic to a team that has trouble making decisions? How do you balance this with development? At what point do you cut the indecisive loose if you need a decision maker?
Thanks David. I would begin with accepting the situation as it is. However, I think of decision making as a skill, not a character quality. I think I’d work on the skill of decision-making. Perhaps a decision-making system would help? Great question. thanks for dropping in.
Knowing how to get their attention is critical!
I may share this with my group but will find an animal other then a pig or I am sure to hear from HR. “He called you a WHAT”? Other then that I love it. There was statement about culling the herd to get what you want. Make sure the pigs are not the ones that got you where you are. Sometimes you need someone with the skill to get into the garbage and mud and have fun doing it.
I have a pig farm. I’ve come to the resolve (as frustrating as it can sometimes be) that there will be no eggs or chickens. It’s ok though. My goal is to make my pigs the best version of themselves and produce the finest bacon in the system.
A tracker we know told a story of his time living with Australian Aborigines. While sitting in the bush one day, ants started crawling on his legs and body. Trying to prove his toughness, our tracker friend allowed the ants free reign and did not kill or remove them. Later he was pockmarked with painful ant bites.
The elder tribesman approached him and said, “Ant be ant. You can’t change him. If you don’t like him, you have to get rid of him.”
Ant be ant and pigs be pigs. If you want chickens, get rid of what you have and acquire chickens.
Never try to teach a pig to sing (or cluck) – it wastes your time and annoys the pig.
I would have loved to hear your inspiration and preparation for this post. A little humor, I like it as well as the comments shared. There are two sides to this story; if you know the future you wish to chart, you ideally would like to pick your team in advance. If you already have a team and now pick or get assigned a future goal, your leadership skills may/will be tested. Both are good leadership challenges. Oink, oink. Thanks, Dan.
Thanks Dan we must accept people as they are not what we wish we could get them to do for us. Especially for a skill vs character nuance. Thanks Duane for the old ag joke, what’s in it for the pig oink oink …. altruistic death to feed the farmer and his family?
Hence yet another importance of diversity on your team!!! I’ll add (maybe) another items to your ‘pig list’: Even if pigs truly buy into your desire for an improved chicken coop, their outcome will almost certainly have features of a pig shed. And that could have some benefits – could …
An interesting one
I’ve always enjoyed reading your posts and had great respect for you. But I have to disagree with you about this post.
Employers, employees, leaders and followers are human beings. Good leaders should never compare people with animals and/or call them names.
Each person or animal has different characters, good and bad. If someone says pigs are dirty, then everybody knows what it means when someone says “you are a chicken”. It means you are a coward, and/or many other things. Look up Google.
Besides, in the supermarkets, is bacon or eggs more expensive?
At the end, in reality, all the animals are sold to the markets or killed and sold by the farmers. If you know what I mean. So animals are animals. Smart people don’t let others to treat them like animals.
Thanks Kyle. Thanks for the feedback. I intended the metaphor of the pig and the chicken to both be positive. Looks like I failed with you. Best for the journey.
Advice from a Chicken: from spitfirecream15 in 2014. Think it sums up the alternative alright, as I work in the poultry industry.
· Don’t wait too long to come home to roost
· Work hard and scratch out your living
· Don’t put all your eggs in one basket
· Wake up with the sunshine
· Don’t let others ruffle your feathers
· Hatch your ideas
· Find something to crow about
· Gather your chicks under your wings
· Stick with your flock of trusted friends
all I’ll add is, protect your own butt, have someone at your back and learn to laugh and walk away at them who are cockier than yourself.
Pigs tend to enjoy getting mired in the dirt, so choose your adversary carefully 😉
Im reminded of an old joke – The difference between motivation and commitment is like eggs and bacon – Chickens are motivated – but pigs are committed