Life is good out in the country. Our little chicks are now 11 weeks old. We have at least three young roosters (properly called cockerels). It is so entertaining listening to them learn how to crow. Quite honestly, I find it much more enjoyable than listening to Oden, our old rooster. A couple of weeks ago, one of our young hens (properly called a pullet) laid an egg. It was so small compared to our other eggs.
I believe this enjoyment came from addressing my issues with Oden. Yes, he still needs to be reminded who is at the top of the pecking order. Yes, he still makes me a bit nervous at times. But, overall, everything changed for me once we came to a new understanding. And now, I’m enjoying being a chicken mama.
I have heard similar expressions of enjoyment from my clients after implementing EOS. Here are a few quotes from my clients:
We finally have the right people in the right seats so we can focus on the more pressing issues
I have more energy for my business than I have had in years
My board has fully bought into our vision and has committed extra resources to ensure we achieve it
My team is finally working together to solve problems, rather than pointing fingers
I am fired up about our 10-year target! And the team loves it, too!
This energy coming from my clients fueled my desire to take the next step in my EOS career. So, after attending the training, I am now a Professional EOS Implementer, one of only 375 worldwide.
EOS (The Entrepreneurial Operating System) is a powerful system that takes a holistic, self-sustaining approach to building a great company. It helps business owners get the most out of their businesses. We have delivered over 91,000 full-day sessions for more than 11,900 companies. As a result, these companies:
Crystallize their vision, getting everyone on the same page and rowing in the same direction;
Gain tremendous traction by building discipline and accountability into the organization; and
Create a healthy, functional, and cohesive leadership team and company.
Want to see how your company is performing? Take an organizational check-up here.
This real-world, proven system is also captured in the award-winning book Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business. You can get a copy here or send me an email and I’ll send you a free copy.
If you know of a business owner/entrepreneur who is frustrated and/or looking to get more out of their business, I’d appreciate a referral. You have my word: I’ll care for them like I care for my chickens, and they will thank you for it!
It has been a while since I last wrote about my chicken adventures. In late June, our flock grew to 20. Our three broody hens hatched 14 peeps. At some point, I’ll share that whole rather stressful adventure, but for now, I’ll skip over becoming a chicken grandma and instead turn my attention (and your attention) back to my mean rooster, Oden. If you recall, a few months ago I wrote an article titled “Right Seat, Wrong Chicken.” Oden’s behavior continued to escalate after recovering from the Great Chicken Massacre. It got to the point that I was working my chicken duties around his schedule, i.e., only entering the run when he was in the coop, which resulted in late nights and early mornings.
A few weeks ago, my chicken coach came to visit. She marched right into the run and headed toward Oden. He sensed her lack of fear and retreated. Then she caught him and put him upside-down. And once a chicken is upside-down, the balance of power shifts—at least for the person who put him upside down. I held Oden for a while, and we eventually let him resume his daily activities. But I soon learned that until I caught him, he would still be aggressive with me. So, the following week—I did it! I caught Oden myself and held him upside down. Now I am at the top of the pecking order, and Oden has become a “Right Chicken, Right Seat” member of my flock.
I can think of two ways to pivot this story toward business: overcoming our fears or becoming a better leader. Given the current shortage of employees, I’m going to pivot toward leadership. Most employers are struggling to find people to fill their open positions, especially people who show up on time and want to do the work. This shortage results in either settling for less-than-ideal candidates or slowing growth until more employees can be hired.
It might help to think about the reasons for the employee shortage. After surviving the pandemic, many people have changed their priorities, and this shift has impacted the way they view their work. They may be less willing to take a job just to earn a paycheck. Based on my research, there isn’t a shortage of employees, but rather a shortage of enticing opportunities. I’d like to offer up three questions that may help you reframe your approach to attracting and retaining your ideal employee.
Is there consistency between what you say you want and what you accept? As we say in EOS, you get what you tolerate. In a time when finding qualified employees is very difficult, it may be tempting to tolerate employee behavior that is contrary to your core values. But that behavior is eroding your culture and lowering the standard for everyone. Addressing that employee with clear examples of the type of behavior that you won’t tolerate is the best way to tackle the problem. If he or she can’t adjust their behavior, you will need to make the hard decision to let them go. It has been my experience that such decisions are rewarded as other employees step up to fill the void.
Are you clear about your vision and your core values? Are you using those to inform your hiring decisions? A person with passion for your vision who demonstrates your core values on a daily basis will outperform any other employee. If you share your vision and core values during the recruiting and hiring process, the odds of attracting an ideal candidate will increase. Yes, it will narrow down the number of candidates, but the quality of the candidates will be much higher.
Are you managing your employees in such a way that they can’t imagine not working for you? This can be an uncomfortable question to answer. But if you can answer it in the affirmative, you will have an advantage over other companies competing for the same pool of candidates. What would it take to have employees who are fiercely loyal to you and your company? (Hint, it isn’t a higher salary.)
If after answering those questions you find that there are opportunities for improvement, I’d like to introduce you to EOS (Entrepreneurial Operating System), an operating system that helps owners and their leadership teams get what they want from their businesses. When implementing EOS, I teach how to utilize a simple set of tools that help you clarify your vision, gain traction on that vision by instilling discipline and accountability throughout the organization, and then transform your leadership team into a healthy, cohesive, fun-loving group of people who actually like working together. This system will help you run a better business and, quite frankly, run a better life.
To get started on regaining control of your business, attracting the right people and accelerating your growth, all you need to do is email me. I can tell you that this system worked for me personally: ever since I addressed my Right Seat, Wrong Chicken issue, I have been able to live a better chicken mama life.
One night last week, I felt restless. I couldn’t fall asleep, as I was thinking about everything I needed to do to prepare for and care for my new “peeps.” I was thinking about building a bigger chicken coop that could house more chicks, trying to figure out the logistics of having adult chickens and little chicks, imagining places for the little chicks to roost. Finally I sat up and said, “I don’t want to deal with all of this. All I want is a steady flow of fresh eggs. I don’t want to worry about facilities, onboarding chicks or dealing with aggressive roosters.”
And then I thought, I bet this is how many business owners feel. I’m sure many of you have had sleepless nights thinking the exact same thing! I don’t want to deal with facilities, HR issues or mask policies. I just want to make castings! Or I just want to design buildings! Or I just want to (fill in your blank)!
If you feel that way, I can understand your frustration (and not just because I’m an aspiring chicken mama). I work with business owners who once faced those frustrations but are now on a path to a better business and a better life.
Some of those expressed frustrations:
One of my clients simply expressed that his level of frustration seemed to be growing exponentially while the business was growing modestly
Another client was tired of the fighting and lack of cohesiveness within the leadership team and said he could see it seeping down into the rest of the organization.
The founder of one company had a passionate conversation with me about how she wanted the culture of her organization to attract the best and brightest in the industry but was seeing decisions made moving the company farther from her vision.
Each of these clients has implemented EOS (Entrepreneurial Operating System) in their organization and are realizing the benefits, including:
Clarity on where the organization is going and how it going to get there
Addressing “wrong people, wrong seat” people issues that have been holding the organization back (check out my Right Seat, Wrong Chicken article here)
Engaging in tough conversations at the leadership team level, which allows the team to work together on achieving the vision
Having more fun
If you feel frustrated that your company isn’t moving towards your vision, or you feel you are working harder and harder and not realizing the benefits of that hard work, or your leadership team isn’t working well together, I can help you.
By implementing EOS in your organization, you can put your company on a path towards achieving your vision, align all your employees behind that vision and transform your leadership team into a functional, cohesive group of people who genuinely enjoy working together. Sound too good to be true? It isn’t, and many organizations are reaping the benefits of EOS.
Email me and we can transform your company as well. Cheers to more restful nights of sleep in the future!
I want to preface this article with a confession. When I started writing about chickens over a year ago, I honestly thought I would run out of things to talk about. I mean, how exciting can chickens be? And how many ways can you tie chicken mama adventures to business? But, as recent events have made me realize, I have a lot more to write about. So, let’s get to it.
Two weeks ago, I went up to the coop on Monday morning to let the chickens out. With all my chicken drama, I am in the habit of counting chickens whenever I go up to the coop. Well, that Monday morning, I was missing a hen. I opened the nesting box and there she was: my missing hen, Priscilla, sitting in one of the nesting boxes. It seemed a bit early to be laying an egg, but at least I could count all my chickens, so I didn’t think much of it.
Until later that day, when I discovered Priscilla was still sitting in the nesting box. I made sure she was still breathing, and then started to think I might have a broody hen.
What is a broody hen, you ask? (At least, I hope you are asking, because I had no idea until I began my quest to become a chicken mama.) A broody hen is a chicken that has decided to sit on and incubate a clutch of eggs.
The next day, I went up to check and sure enough, she was still sitting on her eggs. So I did the customary check to see how broody she was, and she passed the test (she tried to peck me and growled at me).
As you may recall, I still have Oden, the rooster, so that means we are expecting!
A few days later, we went up to check on Priscilla only to find that we now have two broody hens. Sally, the lone hen survivor from the big chicken massacre, decided that she also wanted to sit on some eggs.
While I don’t know how many eggs the two of them are sitting on, I think we are somewhere around 12 eggs each. So we could have a flock of little peeps in the next week or so.
Preparing for a new addition to the chicken family is a lot of work. We had to build a brood hen coop and buy new food, food and water containers for little peeps, and a camera to film the hatching. I want those peeps to feel like they are welcome into our chicken family.
How many of you are in the process of welcoming new employees into your work flock? Some people are coming back to the office after an extended work-from-home stint, and many companies are beginning to add new employees to the team due to growth or attrition. Done properly, the process of onboarding goes beyond taking new hires to lunch on their first day. It involves helping them acclimate to their environment so they can thrive.
Most likely, it’s been a while since you onboarded anyone. It may be time to dust off your onboarding process and make sure it’s up to date and matches the new workplace environment.
If you don’t think you need an onboarding process, consider the following statistics:
A report from the Society of Human Resource Management found that half of all hourly employees leave within the first 120 days.
Another study completed by the Wynhurst Group found that having an effective onboarding process can increase employee retention by 58 percent and improve employee performance by 11 percent.
Here are some best practices to establish an effective onboarding process for your company:
Establish an onboarding outline. This outline may vary for each position but should be adapted to suit each new hire. Key aspects include:
Expectations of the job;
Explanation of how the job contributes to the company’s strategic goals;
Job-specific training with key personnel assigned to assist with the training;
Company-focused training so the employee understands the business, including its values and culture;
Be prepared for the employee prior to her first day. What kind of a message does it send if you aren’t prepared? Paperwork should be ready, a schedule established and team members notified. Having a new employee standing around waiting for you on their first day doesn’t send a welcoming message.
Make onboarding a two-way street. Giving some responsibility to the employee during onboarding helps them gain ownership in the process. For example, you could have an employee list the areas where he feels he needs further training or exposure.
Establish a calendar for onboarding. What specifically does the company need to do in the 1st day, week, month and beyond? What specifically is the employee responsible for? Establishing 30-, 60- and 90-day goals for the employee can help determine if he or she is a good fit for your organization prior to the 90-day review.
Schedule one-on-one meetings on a consistent basis. During these meetings, both parties should be open to feedback, suggestions and questions.
The onboarding process should extend beyond 90 days. As the employee becomes a contributing member of the workforce, shift the conversation towards employee development and advancement.
I can tell you that having little chicks grow into laying hens (and hopefully a nicer rooster) seems like a much better option than putting up with Oden and paying an arm and a leg for laying hens. Similarly, it might pay off to put some energy into developing your new talent into real assets for your organization.
If you feel that your onboarding process could use some help, I have some resources that can help you strengthen it. Email me today and I’ll share what I have.
While you can’t count your chickens before they hatch, you can prepare your new hires to assimilate into your culture and become contributing members to your flock.
If you recall, the outcome of the big chicken massacre was a traumatized rooster (Oden) and an unscathed hen (we named her Sally the Survivor). The end result of one hen and a feisty rooster is an oversexed hen. I needed to solve my immediate problem: finding more hens. Since I have Icelandic chickens, breeding with other types of chickens isn’t an option. So, I did what everyone does when faced with a problem these days and turned to social media. In my Icelandic Chicken Mama Facebook group, I asked if anyone had any hens I could buy in my local area. Fortunately, there was one woman who agreed to sell me some of her hens though the price was a bit steep. We did the exchange in the parking lot of Buy Buy Baby in Clackamas, Oregon.
I drove them home and planned on waiting until after dark to introduce the hens to their new home and family, but then changed my mind and decided to give them a few hours to acclimate prior to heading to bed for the evening. Well, that was quite an experience. Oden, the rooster, was overwhelmed with all his new options, and Sally was less than pleased to have to share Oden’s attention. I have a video of this introduction if you are looking for a little chicken entertainment.
Now, I wasn’t excited about paying what I paid for my hens, but the reality was that I needed to solve my short-term issue in order to make sure Sally survived. I considered my options – purchasing chicks, purchasing eggs or paying an arm and a leg for hens. I picked the best of the less than ideal options and moved toward implementation.
I’m sure there are many of us who haven’t liked our options over the past 16 months. Wearing a mask, social distancing, not seeing friends, not traveling, cooking all meals at home, etc. But one thing I’ve learned as an adult is we often have to make hard decisions based on the current situation we are facing.
When I’m implementing EOS with a client, I work to help them get better in three areas: Vision, Traction and Healthy. Vision means that everyone is clear on where the organization is going and how it will get there. Traction means no matter where you look in the organization, you see people executing on that vision with discipline and accountability. Healthy means transforming the leadership team into a cohesive, fun-loving group of people who genuinely like working together.
Guess which one is the hardest to do? Yep – transforming the leadership team into a cohesive group of people who are willing to be open and honest with one another. Conflict is difficult for most people, and as a result, they avoid it. The sad reality is that avoiding it doesn’t make it go away. In fact, in many ways, it festers and ends up causing more issues than you can imagine. Engaging in a lively debate is critical to working through the issues facing an organization. If your leadership team can’t engage in those conversations, the decisions that are being made may be taking you farther from what you are trying to achieve, not closer.
If you sense that your team is not making the hard decisions because they are avoiding conflict, you could be heading for trouble. If you are ready to take the bold steps to work through those issues but you aren’t sure where to start, I can help you. Making the difficult decisions now will help position the organization for growth in the future. Are you ready for a new future? Email me now and we can start working on achieving it today.
Many of you have asked who killed my chickens. If you haven’t been following my ongoing chicken mama saga, you can find my last article here. But, just to quickly summarize, something killed six of my eight chickens, leaving a traumatized rooster without tail feathers and an unscathed hen.
My husband and I have spent days pondering the demise of our chickens. To answer the question succinctly, we aren’t exactly sure. But there are two clues that shed some light on the answer.
First, one of the chickens was found in our backyard. Our chicken coop is in the front field and requires either walking down the driveway or strolling through the woods to get to the coop. Even back in our short-lived, free-range chicken days, no chicken ever wandered up towards the house. They ran (or flew) for cover in the trees and away from our dogs. So, something brought this chicken to our backyard.
The second clue takes a little to set up, so bear with me. As you may recall, we have a chicken coop enclosed within a 10×10 run with a gate. At the request of our chickens, we expanded this run to include a 20×30 play area that has poultry fencing on the sides and is covered with bird netting. This play area isn’t designed to keep them safe at night, but during the day it does keep them contained, and the netting keeps winged predators out while preventing the chickens from “flying the coop.” Our chicken coop has an automatic door opener, which protects them at night, and when we closed the run gate in the evening, the chickens were also predator-safe. After the chicken massacre, we added chicken coop fencing around the play area and staked it down. And we committed to closing the run gate every night to protect them even more.
In honor of my husband’s birthday, I dressed the dogs in their birthday bandanas from Bailey’s Bandanas. The morning after his birthday, JacX (the puppy) returned to the house after “doing her business” without her bandana. That morning, as I walked up to let the chickens out, I was lamenting that I would have to order another bandana as the dogs look so cute with them on. When I arrived at the chicken coop, I found the bandana. Smack in the middle of the play structure. You know: the one surrounded by chicken coop fencing.
Yep, our “bird dog” used her nose and paws to pry up the stakes, lift the fencing and enter the play structure. Fortunately, the chickens were locked up in the run and she couldn’t get to them.
As I reflect on why JacX would do that, I think she might have started taking “liberties” with her title of bird dog. Instead of thinking of herself as a dog that retrieves the birds her dad shoots, she started to think of herself as a dog who retrieves all birds, regardless of whether her dad shot them.
And while I’m not happy with her at all, I think that in some ways we can all relate to her. How many of us have taken ‘liberties” with our titles or our responsibilities over the past year? Think about it – how many of us have transitioned to less formal business attire while working at home (or at least from the waist down)? Or how many of us have found out that without all the idle chit-chat, we can actually get all our work done 15-20% faster, thus allowing us to shrink our work week? Or perhaps we have “shirked” those responsibilities that we really don’t like doing or never found any value in completing?
As we move into a post-pandemic life, most businesses will start having employees return to work in the office full-time. This will definitely be a period of adjustment. I’d like to propose the following three suggestions on how to preserve the benefits of the past year while ensuring that the company is poised to grow and thrive in this new economy.
Communicate. Don’t assume your employees know what you have been thinking and planning for the past year. As we teach in EOS, in order for an employee to hear you for the first time, they need to hear it seven times. So, get clear on your vision and your path to achieving that vision and then start communicating. If you feel like you are overcommunicating, or you’re getting tired of repeating yourself, pat yourself on the back and keep on communicating.
Be clear on everyone’s responsibilities. A year is a long time to firmly establish habits, good or bad. So, as you move towards “re-entry” make sure that everyone is clear on what is expected of them. One EOS tool that I like to use is the 5-5-5. This tool can be used to reinforce core values, describe the employee role in the organization and define their quarterly “rocks” (business priorities).
Be human. One of the benefits of the past year is the melding together of our personal and professional lives. We have learned how to work from home and balance remote learning for our kids, how to manage barking dogs during Zoom meetings and how to support each other during periods of tremendous stress. My hope is that we maintain that same level of care and concern in our post-pandemic lives.
If you find that you or your workforce isn’t ready to navigate the new realities, please reach out to me. I can provide you some tools and techniques that will make this adjustment much easier for all parties involved. And, perhaps, we can learn how to leverage some of those “liberties” into a more fulfilling life.
I write this with a heavy heart. Late last week, we lost six of our eight chickens.
Things were going so well. The chickens had picked up on the remodeling vibe and asked that we provide them with some additional outdoor living space. So, we expanded beyond their 10-by-10-foot chicken run into a 20-by-30-foot outdoor space with a play structure and a covering to protect them from flying predators. We also invested in an automatic chicken door that protected them at night. The hens were laying, the roosters were crowing (though our youngest rooster, Sven, seemed to sound more like a choking frog) and I was really getting into the groove of being a chicken mama.
But last Friday morning, that all changed. I will spare you the details, partly because they are so depressing, but also because I was out of town and missed it all. When I arrived home on Friday evening, we were down to two chickens. And Oden, our aggressive rooster, had lost all his tail feathers and was resting in the nesting box. He was so traumatized that he even let Mike pet him.
It is so hard for me to go up to the coop now. There are feathers all over the run, and it is so quiet with just two (traumatized) chickens. I know I need to keep moving toward achieving my goal but right now, I have lost my energy and focus for being a chicken mama.
I wonder how many business owners have dealt with those same emotions over this past year. Sales are down, employees are sick, uncertainty is all around. Please don’t think that I’m equating the loss of chickens to what many people have experienced in the past year. I can’t even imagine those losses. But loss is something we will all face at some point, and we’ll have to make the decision to move past it.
Still, moving forward takes energy and focus, and at times, that can be hard to muster up. For me, as I looked at my path forward, I fell back on what I know: process, or more specifically, the EOS tool on Compartmentalizing.
This tool helped me set my one-year goal (not buying eggs from the store) followed by my priorities for the next 90 days, then set my activities for the next seven days. As I did this, I realized I had issues that needed to be addressed in the short term (getting more chickens so I won’t have an oversexed hen) and the long term (building a coop to separate newly hatched chicks from the full-grown chickens). By using this tool, I created a plan to move forward that feels achievable.
This is a powerful tool that can help anyone stay focused on reaching their goals. In fact, I used it last month with a CEO who is in the process of expanding his business into a higher-margin, more technical industry. Once we completed this EOS document, he started to get clarity on what he needed to work on for the next 90 days. He was able to prioritize his issues by relative urgency. As he faced problems throughout the day, he was able to filter them with this tool. He would ask himself, “Does this need to be addressed in the next 90 days?” If the answer was yes, he would add it to the Short-Term Issue List. If not, he would add it to the Long-Term Issue list and then go back to working on his top priorities. Even after a week, he shared that he had regained focus and energy that had been missing from his business for quite a while.
That is what I appreciate about EOS and what it does for my clients. Simple tools properly applied will get you amazing results. If you feel like you have lost your mojo, let’s talk. Together, we can regain it and bring you increased focus, accelerated growth and boosted profitability.
As my husband and I started talking about getting chickens, we created our vision: free range chickens that laid lots of eggs.
As you know, the first round of chickens were free range but they stopped laying eggs in our coop. Our second round has been confined to our run and the quantity of eggs has slowly been increasing. But, the free range part isn’t going so well. We have two issues, first our dog JacX who believes her job is to catch the chickens and bring them to my husband (Mike is working on addressing this issue with the dog trainer).
But, our other issue is Oden, the rooster. The reason we have a rooster is twofold: first, roosters will protect the hens, and second, having a rooster allows me to continue the bloodline without purchasing additional chicks.
Oden is very good at protecting his hens. But about a month ago, my husband went to put them in for the night, and Oden wasn’t quite ready to turn in. My husband gave him a gentle nudge toward the coop, which Oden didn’t appreciate. His response was to flog my husband. While my husband didn’t dwell on the incident, Oden apparently isn’t over it yet. He now likes to strut up to me or my husband to challenge us. Fortunately, Oden has learned the word “No.” But it has definitely reduced the fun in caring for the chickens. In fact, I can’t be in the coop when he is walking around, as he will come up and try to challenge me (he hasn’t tried to flog me yet).
Based on our Chicken Values, I’ve been wondering if we have a Right Seat, Wrong Chicken problem.
The phrase “Right Person, Right Seat” comes from Jim Collins’ 2001 bestseller Good to Great. The “Right Person” is someone who shares your organization’s core values. The “Right Seat” means that person is using the skills and talents they were born with. When implementing EOS, I teach my clients that in order to achieve their vision, they need 100% of the individuals in their organization to be “Right People, Right Seat.” If you don’t have that, the organization’s performance will suffer. Allow me to explain.
Let’s say your situation is Right Person, Wrong Seat. You have someone who shares your company’s core values. They fit your culture like a glove, but they aren’t doing a job that is in line with their skills and abilities. Typically, management makes excuses for the person by saying things like, ”He has been here since the beginning,” or “I really want her to finish her career with us.” So, you either tolerate underperformance or begin to create workarounds to ensure the organization still meets its goals while keeping that person in his/her seat. That results in inefficiency, chaos and reduced performance.
The other challenge you may face is Wrong Person, Right Seat. This is someone who is really good at the job but doesn’t demonstrate the organization’s core values. I’ve witnessed this with a really strong salesperson who will win at all costs, even if it means sacrificing the company’s core values. It might also happen when you have a very knowledgeable technical person in a key role, or possessing a unique understanding of the product or service being provided. Organizations often feel they can’t possibly let that person go, because they will lose their competitive edge, and if that employee were then hired by a competitor, the company’s secrets could be shared. But I have seen first-hand that letting a Wrong Person go actually liberates other individuals in the organization to step up and fill the void. And oftentimes, after the person is gone, the leadership team will start to hear stories about how this person was eroding the culture and the company’s reputation.
If you sense that someone in your organization is either the wrong person in the right seat, or the right person in the wrong seat, I challenge you to do something about it. Achieving your vision requires that you address those issues within the organization. If you aren’t sure what to do or how to approach this issue, I can help you get clarity on how best to address it for the greater good of your organization.
Oh, and did I mention that one of my 18 week old chickens is a rooster…
I’d like to preface this story with a reminder that I grew up in the city. I’ve never been around many farm animals, including chickens. So, with this in mind, I’ll tell you about my first encounter with a rooster.
When I went over to my chicken coach’s home to get my rooster and some hens, the men were busy with man things so the ladies went down to the barn to catch the chickens. We entered the coop and there were chickens up in the rafters and on the roost, and a few roosters crowing.
We put our eyes on a hen and began the process of trying to catch her. Do you have any idea how to catch a chicken? Well, I certainly don’t. But apparently, you can grab their feet or, in some cases, their tail feathers.
We had the hen cornered and slowly moved in towards her. OK, “we” is a bit strong. It was my chicken coach; I was not sure what to do. Well, as she approached the hen, the hen flew right toward me and we ended up eye to eye.
We both squealed, and the chicken got away. Eventually we caught her, and my chicken coach held the hen and let me pet her and then hold her. We put her in the transport kennel and then caught the other hen and our rooster, Oden.
We headed home and put them in the run. I should note that it had started raining pretty hard, as we were in the midst of a Pineapple Express. It was approaching dusk but there was still light. So we left them alone and went to the house. After dark, I headed up to the coop to close the door. To my dismay, Oden and the two new hens were roosting in the lean-to and barely out of the driving rain.
Knowing it would be safer and drier for them in the coop and feeling confident that I could handle a hen after my experience earlier that day, I put my hands around the body of the hen closest to me.
Without a hesitation, Oden leaned over and pecked me hard on the hand. His point was clear: leave her alone, she is mine!
I retreated, went back to the house and shared the story with my husband. Later that evening, I went back to the chicken run. They were still roosting in the lean-to and it was still raining. I was very concerned about their safety, but with the temperature about 50 degrees, I figured they would be OK for one night.
The next morning, with the light of day, Oden was able to clearly see his surroundings and immediately took charge of the coop, placing himself at the top of the nine-chicken pecking order.
What I appreciated about my exchange with Oden was that he assumed responsibility for his hens and let me know it.
How many times have you seen leaders say they are in charge but when difficult decisions need to be made, they don’t make or own them? If you want your team members to achieve their full potential, they need a leader they know is looking out for them.
Helping a team reach its full potential requires more than making difficult decisions. It requires the ability to be clear on where the organization is going and how to get there. Creating a vision with a path toward achieving that vision is key to getting employees aligned behind that vision.
What is the best way to create that vision? Some leaders feel that responsibility lands squarely on their shoulders, but I’d challenge that approach.
Involving the team will provide different perspectives, challenging viewpoints and ultimately greater unity. It has been my experience that the more you can get your leadership team and the rest of your organization to see the vision and the path to achieving that vision, the sooner your organization will get traction toward achieving that vision.
If you aren’t getting the traction or the results you desire, it may be that the organization isn’t clear on the direction or the path.
If you would like a copy of the tool my clients use to establish their vision, I’m happy to share it with you.
And if you want loyalty from your team, you may be able to learn something from Oden (just ignore his views on crowing all day long)…
P.S.When your team becomes aligned behind your vision and your path towards achieving that vision that where the magic happens. “Magic” means accelerated growth, higher profits, and more control. And that is something everyone can get behind.