Three Strikes and You Are Out!

A few weeks ago, my husband and I went on vacation.  I can’t tell you what the time in the sun did for my mental outlook. I’d highly recommend you take some time to decompress after the stress of the past few years.  However, leaving our house requires finding a dog sitter and a chicken sitter.  Fortunately, we have a chicken whisperer who lives next door who has offered to care for our chickens in our absence.  This woman is an expert in all things chicken.  She is so good with her chickens that she actually takes them on a walk every day – they seriously follow her up and down her driveway.  (As you know, that is not the type of interaction that I have with my chickens.)

Anyway, I knew my chickens were in very capable hands – and that included Oden, should he decide to try any “chicken-business” with her.  (If you are new to my chicken stories, you have missed the adventures of Oden.  Here is a link to one article I wrote about him, but essentially, he is a mean rooster who thinks nothing of asserting himself at the top of any pecking order.)

When we returned from our vacation, our chicken whisperer shared that she was up caring for the chickens one afternoon when Oden came up behind her, flogged her and dug his spurs through her boots, causing two 1-inch-deep puncture wounds on her leg.  She kicked him off and chased him away.  But every day after that, he was waiting for her, strutting his stuff in the run.  He wouldn’t go into the coop if she was around.

Well, if you are keeping score, Oden has three strikes: he flogged Mike, he has attacked me multiple times, and now he has flogged our chicken whisperer.

As they say, three strikes and you are out.

Yes, Oden has moved on to greener pastures. And we have a new first in command, Hei Hei (named after a character from the Disney movie Moana).  While I don’t love the name, I’m hoping a gentler name will result in a less aggressive rooster.

It was a hard decision to remove Oden from the flock, as he was really good at his job, and I know his aggressiveness was part of the job. But it is nice to be able to be in the run with the chickens and not have to worry about being flogged.  And I must say that Hei Hei has really embraced being at the top of the pecking order.

How many of you have Odens on your team?  Maybe they are really good at their job, but they are not enjoyable to be around or they are undermining your office culture.

If you are sensing something is wrong with an employee, chances are high that other employees have also noticed, and they are waiting to see how you handle this person.  What kind of message are you sending when you allow this issue to linger?

You don’t necessarily have to let the person go.  But being clear on what defines a great person in your company and then providing feedback on how each employee is performing against that definition is a path that leads toward resolution of “wrong people (chicken)” issues.

The tool we use in EOS is The People Analyzer.  We first help our clients discover their core values. Then we define what those values look like in action.  Upon completion, on a quarterly basis, the clients grade each of their employees on how well they are living and exemplifying the company’s core values.  It redirects those awkward conversations around performance and provides a simple way to communicate where employees are excelling and where they have opportunities to improve.

If you want to be one of those companies that isn’t struggling to find employees during this tight labor market, I’d urge you to define what a great person looks like and then strive to have every employee live it, even when no one is watching. Let those core values become a common language that everyone embodies.  What is the worst that could happen? Oh, I know: you could have a company full of people that you love working with.  And what could be better than that?

If you aren’t sure if you have clearly defined a great person for your company or communicated it to your team, it isn’t too late.  Reach out to me today and I can help you discover exactly what defines a great person in your unique organization.

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