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Why you shouldn’t try to be a Super-Chicken

Are you always comparing yourself to the ‘super-chickens’ in our society; those people that always seem to be the most intelligent, the most assertive, the most productive? They sound like the dream, but actually, are they the ones that we need to promote? Do they pick others up and propel them forward, like they have been pushed to succeed in the past?

It turns out that in a lot of workplaces, senior leaders will pick out those that are the most productive from their workforce and push them to develop further. It might mean they focus on a few individuals, rather than the whole team. They won’t place the same level of importance, time or energy on the receptionist for example, as they would on the team manager.

As a business owner, especially if you’re employing people, it might be time to study chickens a little more closely (hear me out!).

What can chickens teach us about productivity?

To get more of an idea of why I’m talking about chickens, aside from my love of ‘chickenalia’, spend a few minutes watching this Ted Talk from Margaret Heffernan. Margaret first talks about an experiment by William Muir, an evolutionary biologist, interested in productivity. In his experiment he selected an average flock of chickens which he left alone for six generations. He then selected the most productive chickens – the ‘super-chickens’ to create a second flock, from which he then selected the most productive for breeding.

As Margaret says in her talk, the first group were still going strong after the six generations. They were healthy and their egg production had increased dramatically. The ‘super-chickens’ though had taken their productivity into their own hands (wings?!), rather than working together to increase team productivity. Only three were alive as they had pecked the rest to death. These individuals had ensured their own survival by suppressing the productivity of the rest.

How can we relate to business?

‘But I’m not running a chicken farm’ I hear you say! You may not be, but you are running a business and therefore team management and the idea of what success is plays an important part of your daily working life.

A Stanford researcher, Carol Dweck, categorised views on achievements into two different mindsets.

“For some people, proving they are smart and talented is what they cling to at all costs. For others, they believe with effort, time and a healthy dose of grit, they can get better – at anything. […] The former have a “fixed” mindset while the latter have a “growth” mindset.”

(The Surprising Reason You Should Stop Trying To Be So ProductiveJessica Amortegui (Logitech) – Forbes)

Carol Dweck’s two mindsets are probably apparent to you already. You know people that you’d class as having a ‘fixed’ mindset, the ‘super-chickens’ – they may be highly productive and successful, but in a different way to those that have a ‘growth’ mindset. Are those people with a ‘growth’ mindset more likely to make changes to their own productivity and working style to benefit the flock? Most probably!

While I’m not suggesting you start ‘pecking’ your most productive employees, it might be an idea to look at their relationships with others within the team and see if you can develop a more collaborative way of working. Ultimately, this will result in a decrease in staff turnover, more openness in ideas sharing and increased productivity.

Where do I fit in?

I have a confession to make – I’m not a ‘super-chicken’. In my role as your Virtual Assistant, one of the first things I will do is get to know you, your brand and your team so that I can slot into your business; an extra staff member! While I might be working away from your building, I am all about working collaboratively to ensure that your business productivity is increased.

By the way, working with me also demonstrates that you’re not a ‘Super-Chicken’. You’ve chosen to enlist the help and support of ‘one of the flock’ rather than trying to get ahead on your own and that is very much a thing to be celebrated.

Call me on 07958050856 or drop me an email to jacqueline@jleake-va-services.com if you’d like to discuss working together in more detail.

Or, of course, if you’d like to discuss my ‘chickenalia’ or meet up for lunch over zoom – eggs anyone?!

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