I was in the supermarket last week, and I was thinking how confusing the egg labelling is. You know what I mean? What is the difference between Free Range, Organic, Cage Free, Barn Eggs! What’s the difference?
Barn Eggs sounds nice doesn’t it? Well, maybe not. Barn hens are kept in a ‘barn’ which may not be the romantic notion you have in mind for a barn – you know – lovely big wooden building. Well, all barn eggs means is that hens are kept in an enclosed space and never let out.
They get a massive 15cm perch space each (6 inches). Have you seen the size of a hen? They look bit bigger than 6 inches to me.
Free Range – means they have more space in the hen house and a certain sq footage per hen outside, but it is up to the farmer how accessible the outside is so some hens may never see the green grass of ‘out there’.
Organic free range is the way to go – but of course, it is more expensive. But in organic farms, the hens have more space again, the flock size is controlled, they are totally free to come and go as they want during the day, and they are fed organically too. Oh, and they don’t have their beak tips trimmed.
Now the thing is with the hens – that whatever way they are kept, they still have a job to do. They still have to lay eggs, otherwise they are no good to the farmer (except possibly being sold as your Sunday roast).
However, the eggs they lay can vary greatly.
Think about it – if the hen is stressed, has been in fights (due to lack of space), is fed poor or mediocre nutrition and never gets a chance to run around – do you think those eggs will be as big and full of nutrients as the free range organic hens, allowed to come and go as they like, not stressed, not overcrowded, no antibiotics and fed ‘proper’ food and allowed to forage.
Stands to reason that the latter are probably ‘better’ eggs.
And it is the same with people.
Are your teams battery hens or organic free range?
Are they allowed to roam free? Are they given space to make their own decisions, and not pecked by micro managers? Are they working in pleasant surroundings – or crammed into a soulless office with no windows and too many bodies? Are they allowed room to make their own decisions or kept to a strict set of (someone else’s) rules.
The thing is – either way – they have to produce. Their job is to ‘lay those eggs’. But would you rather have results that are produced because they HAVE to be, which are mediocre at best? Or would you rather have better than average results that anyone would be proud of?
Would you rather have bickering and in fighting in the team because everything is so tightly controlled that they are more worried about ‘not being the worst’ and potentially being hoofed out, than in being the best they can be? How can people even begin to be the best they can be, if they are treated like battery hens?
Tell me – which eggs do YOU prefer?
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Julie Hutchison is co-Director with Jan Sargent of Transforming Performance, a consultancy which provides businesses with expert support in Leadership Coaching, Team Development and Performance Coaching, Executive Coaching, Mentoring, Training and Behavioural Profiling and help in getting the best from you and your people. If you’d like to have a chat and a coffee to discuss how we can help you, we’d love to talk. Call us on:
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