Recently, someone told me a story. The story of the Pig and the Chicken. Do you know it?
The story can vary from someone to another, but globally the basis is the same.
Here is a variant of what I heard and then read.The Chicken talks to his friend the Pig and offers him to be good with their farmer because he’s good with them. Because each morning the farmer is awake very early and has never enough time to eat a breakfast, the Chicken says : "let’s make him a breakfast!"
The Pig is not as friend with the Farmer as the Chicken, but well, he knows what he owes to the Farmer, so he accepts and says : "Sure, that’s a good idea! What do you suggest?"
The Chicken has not a lot to provide and says "I could give some eggs".
The Pig answers " OK, that’s a good start! What else?".
The Chicken, after a while, says : "Well, the Farmer loves ham. Let’s make some bacon and eggs!"
The Pig, not as silly as he looks like replies : "You only make a contribution with your eggs, I make a real commitment with my bacon!"
Actually, the Pig is right, to give eggs, the Chicken only needs to lay. The Pig, to produce the bacon has to die.
The fable is well known in management. It’s used to illustrate 2 types of people involved in a project, whatever is a project. The Pig represents someone who is totally involved in the project, accountable for the project, giving even his life (figuratively…) to make the project a hit. On the other side, we have the Chicken illustrated by someone who is just there to consult and sometimes do a little something. This one makes intellectual contributions, but don’t actually commit to the project.
The Pig is identified as the people in a team who DO the work, who deliver what you expect from them, he’s dedicated to the project. He’s the core of the project. He’s a performer. The proof is : he will give you his bacon -his life to make you happy! You definitely want a Pig in your team.
The Chicken is identified as the one who will get all the honors from the Pig’s work. At the end of the day (I love this totally cheezy consultant expression! ) he will not really contribute to the work and his part will not make the things done. In addition, his ressources – the eggs – are renewable. So, what is his real contribution, how much does he commit to your project if in fact he only does some stuff he can do without any real commitment?
In other words, do you prefer working with someone who’s not that good but really commited or someone who’s good but not that commited? I would rather prefer to work with the second choice, so the Pig. He could be teached to be better but it would be very difficult to have him commited to his work .
What is usually used in project management especially in IT projects, can be used in a lot of life situations : mariage, divorce, etc. You put all your heart and soul in what you do but sometimes it’s not enough because people just want to see the results and don’t care how you obtain them.
I was wondering if I could be a Pig AND a Chicken. I guess I couldn’t. Unless if we talk about different moments in the carreer or life, or even state of mind. But even though, will I’d be better if I would always be a Chicken? Not sure…
At least, I don’t want to be a Rooster, proud of what he’s doing. Moving his red head around without being helpful. I don’t want some Rooster in my team.
Some people don’t agree with this fable, arguing that the Chicken, even if he doesn’t really commit or perform, is as useful as the Pig…