Last week we covered six lessons about Business EQ that you can learn from, yes, chickens. In Part I we discussed Thinking Outside the Coop, Some People Never Change, and Generally Speaking, the Sky Does Not Fall In; in Part II, we bravely considered the EQ lessons of Don’t Muddy Your Own Water, Be Adaptable, and Mind the Pecking Order.
For today’s blog, we finish up our top 10 list with ….
7) It’s good to tuck under someone’s wing
Chicken behavior: Baby chicks like to sleep under their mothers. But if you buy the chickens as chicks, they have no big fat mama with whom to cuddle. Instead they fall asleep in a heap on the floor of their box, little heads tucked under each others’ bodies, legs and wings akimbo. As adults, chicks who are raised together exhibit the same behavior—snoozing together in a heap in the sun, or trying so hard to tuck under another hen’s body they knock her over.
Human lesson: Periodically during your career, it’s good to tuck under the wing of a mentor. Maybe it’s someone who has something to teach you about leadership, team building, or community relations. Or maybe it’s someone who you realize can help you polish your professional presence or bump up your technical skills. Whatever it is, knowing what you need to work on – and being able to identify who can teach you new skills – is a key part of Business EQ.
8) Hatch your eggs, don’t smash them.
Chicken Behavior: On occasion, it’s true, a hen will peck her own eggs (and then all the other hens will come over to clean up the mess, which can result in a syndrome known as, “Where the heck are the eggs going?”). But generally hens either lay their eggs and forget about them, or they sit on the eggs, waiting for them to hatch.
Human Lesson: Running a business, dealing with clients, leading teams, developing employees – it all depends on your ability to nurture ideas and people. Sure, being brave and aggressive count in a lot of ways, but if you’re abrasive, dismissive, or downright scary, you’ll end up doing more harm than good.
9) Scratching is important.
Chicken behavior: Chickens spend a lot of time scratching the ground, looking for bugs, little rocks, bits of ground-up corn — and, at our house, crumbs the kids leave in the grass. This is what chickens do for fun and it’s very, very productive. (Hens in factory farms, by the way, don’t get to do this…but don’t get me started on that topic.)
Human Lesson: As dear old Henry Ford once said, “Business is never so healthy as when, like a chicken, it must do a certain amount of scratching for what it gets.” Or as Thomas Edison said, genius is one part inspiration, 99 parts perspiration. Keep digging for new contacts, new products, new trends, new ideas — that’s what truly helps you grow your business.
10) Steady production counts
Chicken behavior: Hens lay eggs just about every 28 hours. It’s a steadiness of performance that’s quite inspiring .
Human lesson: Did you ever know someone who seemed to have a skyrocketing career in their 20s and 30s and then just sort of…burned out? Stopped performing? Disappeared even? Or someone who maybe does great work sometimes but not-so-great work other times? Pacing is important. Take good enough care of yourself that you can perform consistently at high levels. That’s what reputations are made of.