And now the post you’ve anxiously been awaiting:
Part II of the First-Ever Top Ten Business EQ Tips You Can Learn From Chickens.
(Just to refresh your memory, in Part I we discussed Thinking Outside the Coop, Some People Never Change, and Generally Speaking, the Sky Does Not Fall In.) Today, the tips are:
4) Don’t Muddy Your Own Water
We raised our chicks inside, in a big cardboard box with a heat lamp on it. Once we moved the hens to the outside, I soon discovered that whenever I put a bowl of water on the ground, the hens scratch dirt into it. I have a friend who says they do it by mistake, but I swear they want to make mud-pies. Whatever the motivation, the birds wreck their water and then they whine about being thirsty.
Human Lesson: As the saying goes, don’t soil your own nest. Learn the art of “self mastery,” so that you’re not governed by emotional impulses. Be honest, clear (and legal) in your financial matters, so that you don’t get in trouble down the line. Be mindful of your reputation in the community. I.e., don’t engage in fowl play.
5) Be adaptable
Chicken behavior: See #4, above.
Human Lesson: One of the hallmarks of emotional intelligence is adaptability, or being able to respond to changing conditions, mandates, or information without flipping out—or, conversely, without doing the same old, same old thing in hopes that it will work. (Definition of insanity: “Doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.”) So when the chickens scratched water into their waterer? I moved the waterer onto a shelf in the hen house.
6) Mind the pecking order
Chicken behavior: There’s a reason “pecking order” is called “pecking order.” Chickens work out strict hierarchies within their flocks. The bird at the top creates and enforces that order by literally pecking the other birds (and chasing them, mounting them, squawking at them, and, sometimes, scratching them). It’s ugly to watch, but once that order is worked out, life in the poultry yard is fairly serene.
Human lesson: I’m not going to say that we should all obey the chains of command with slavish dedication. But it’s good to be mindful of who’s who and to treat those people with respect. It’s especially good for small business owners – who, as a breed, tend to be independent, even renegade-ish at times – to be mindful of professional hierarchies. Ever seen a freelancer or consultant suddenly turn sullen, churlish, angry or otherwise just kind of wierd? It happens a lot and it’s not all that productive. Be creative, think outside the coop, nourish your entrepreneurial spirit — but learn how to work within the flock, too.
Next Up: Four more EQ lessons to be learned from our feathered friends — including a quote from Henry Ford, who was not, as we all know, a bird brain.