The simple breakfast plate of ham and eggs [or bacon and eggs] has become the motivational story of “The Chicken and the Pig.”
Both the chicken and the pig look on at a family eating breakfast.
The chicken comments how a chicken’s eggs allows it to participate [or involve] itself to help others.
The pig then comments on the bacon/ham; pigs are not just “participating” or “involved”— they are totally committed!
There are several variants as to how the Chicken and the Pig meet and the level of the relationship between the two.
The Chicken suggests to the Pig that they start a restaurant where they will each contribute to breakfast.
In reply, the Pig always notes that, for the Chicken, only a contribution is required [as a chicken can simply lay an egg and then resume normal activities], while for the Pig a “total commitment” [or total sacrifice] is needed [as in order to make ham or bacon, the pig must be slaughtered].
This story is commonly referenced to illustrate two types of project members:
- Pigs, who are totally committed to the project and accountable for its outcome, and
- chickens, who consult on the project and are informed of its progress.
By extension, a rooster, can be defined as a person who struts around offering uninformed, unhelpful opinions.
A successful project needs both chickens and pigs [roosters are seen as unproductive].
However, given the sacrifice required of being a pig, they can be difficult to collect.
Thus, the construction of a successful project-team must ensure that the project has sufficient “pigs” – and ensure that they are empowered to drive the project in return for committing to and taking accountability for it.
The difference between involvement and commitment is like ham and eggs. The chicken is involved; the pig is committed.
The lesson in this story that I want to summarize is this: Bacon or Eggs – life will be sacrificed.
If you are a chicken, every egg you lay is a chick that you have sacrificed.
If you are a pig, you sacrifice your life.
Unfortunately, there are people in life who wants to take the glory, but are not there when the sacrifices are made.
Such people are involved, but not committed. They don’t have skin in the game, they have nothing to lose.