Everything you didn't learn in school that will help you survive the world of work. A place for newbies, for working moms, for seasoned professionals and "free agents" to share strategies, tips and tales from the trenches.

Dec 7, 2005

Be the Chicken

Instructor, Caroline Bender

I would like to comment briefly on the new business allegory that is making the rounds, and of which I am already sick to death. This is the kind of Move My Cheese story told by blustery Boss/Presenters to inspire and delight us into giving "more" (which see our earlier entry on getting a life).

The parable uses the commitment made by both the Pig and the Chicken toward the outcome of the project, in this case a bacon and egg breakfast. Presenter makes the point that while the chicken "showed up" for the endeavor, the pig "really committed."

Presenter will stick her tongue in her cheek and wiggle her eyebrows, meaning "Get it? D'ja get it?"

I would like to posit that this is a terrible analogy, makes no sense, and undermines its own point.

Yes, the pig did commit; he literally put "skin in the game." But he has committed at the sacrifice of himself. As a result, he can no longer commit again. He is a one-time resource which is all expensive fat without nutrition. The sizzle without the meat. Most of his contribution melts and is drained off, resulting in a very large expense on his part for a very small contribution to the project.

You may say the chicken only showed up, laid an egg and left. But what is the quality of her contribution? She is a renewable resource, who can give every day one of nature's perfect foods. In addition, the chicken's contribution, if fertilized and incubated, yields more chickens.

Be the chicken. And you can tell the Boss I said so.

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