A story about commitment…
Are you a chicken or a pig?
Question: What does the stereotypical Englishman have for breakfast? Answer: Eggs and bacon. And what two animals are required to produce his breakfast? Answer: A chicken and a pig. Let’s examine these two animals and their contribution to the English breakfast.
On the one hand you have the chicken: you may feed and look after her well, you may even make sure that she has everything she needs to live a full and happy life but she will only lay an egg when it suits her. Some days you will have an egg for breakfast and some days you won’t. So as far as the English breakfast is concerned the chicken is, at best, only ‘involved’ in supplying the ingredients. On the other hand the Pig committed!
When it comes to getting things done; when it comes to absolutely needing to depend on a result, I prefer to surround myself with pigs, rather than chickens. I need to feel that they, like me, are 100% committed to delivering whatever is required.
Now I don’t expect my colleagues to die for the cause of their work but I do expect them to show a similar level of passion and determination as I do. And when they don’t I like to look very carefully at myself and ask: ‘did I explain clearly enough the ‘why’ of the project?’ ‘Did I share the vision of what we need to achieve?’ ‘Did I spend enough time listening to their views and opinions?’ ‘Did I involve them in the solution, rather than just telling them what to do?’ And if the answer to all these questions is ‘yes’, and if I do not see the commitment level I expect, then I am forced to accept that I have a chicken rather than a pig on my project. And although there is plenty of room in the farmyard for a few chickens here and there, when it comes down to serious planning with hard deliverables, I never ever rely on a chicken!
Have a good week,