Pigs Don’t Lay Eggs but Leadership is Intervention

Apart from intervention, the past is the future. Past performance reflects future accomplishment. Past attitudes predict future interactions.

Leadership is intervention.

Intervention is:


Intervention is making failure less likely and success more probable.

Intervention is elevating good to great.


Place an obstacle in the path of repeated failure. Establish rigid reporting procedures to monitor progress, for example. Use this as a temporary measure, not a long-term strategy.

Disrupt thinking by reflecting on past performance with the future in mind.

  1. What would you do differently next time?
  2. When did this project begin to flounder? What did you do?
  3. Imagine yourself acting differently, what do you see yourself doing? How might you do that next time?

Make failure uncomfortable – when it’s a pattern – unless you want more of it.

Not intervention:

#1. Passive acceptance isn’t intervention. Acceptance is the beginning of successful intervention, but acceptance alone is endorsement.

Apart from acceptance, intervention is offense, but lack of intervention ratifies failure.

#2. Frustration isn’t intervention. Address the roots of frustration or frustrations escalate. Soothing anger without solving the cause opens the door to future anger.

Appeasement is approval.

#3. Optimism isn’t intervention until it inspires action.

#4. Second chances aren’t interventions. Second chances only work when first chances are learning experiences.

Nagging frustrations indicate lack of learning. Second chances won’t help.

Three considerations:

Pigs don’t lay eggs, but there’s always room for growth. It’s futile to expect people to be something they’re not. If you have a team of pigs, fall in love with bacon.

Throw sand in the gears. Make failure uncomfortable. Establish a point where negative consequences kick in. Remove responsibilities, for example.

Intervention might include doing less, if you’re inclined to quickly offer help. Instead of offering solutions, ask what they would like to try.

How might leaders intervene when failure is a pattern?

What does intervention look like when things are going well?