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A Fox Killed My Chickens

By Joey Havens

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Red fox in a field.

As I conclude my Zoom conference call, I can’t stop chuckling over our conversation. This was our monthly coaching call and he is a high-level executive and a dear friend. He and his wife have recently purchased land in the rural part of their state and are highly engaged in setting up a garden, planting trees and landscaping, raising some farm animals and starting to build a home on the site where they will be away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Our call today started in a most unusual way.

“Joey, I can’t even believe what I am about to tell you. A year ago, I would not have even thought this was a challenge I would ever encounter. A fox got into our chicken coop last night and killed all of our chickens.”

Mark it up as a lesson learned about raising chickens in rural America. Thankfully, this greedy fox triggered several leadership lessons for me — especially when it comes to team building and work culture.

How often do we as organizations, as team members, as leaders, leave our front and back doors open and allow a greedy fox inside? The team member who never seems to be satisfied with their portion of credit or rewards. The team member who simply destroys the energy within the team by being disrespectful of others or instilling fear at every opportunity.

The team member who is all about themselves and will use anyone to advance their agenda. The team member who never respects the personal commitments of other team members as they dump work that many times is already late due to their tardiness. The team member who simply reeks of negativity and always plays the victim. The team member who is always blaming others.

Yes, there are different kinds of foxes and more than I describe here, but they all accomplish the same thing  — they kill all of the chickens! When we allow these foxes to live within our teams, we are destroying our team’s ability to have a strong sense of belonging and to be a high-performing team.

It is not always what we do that hurts our work culture, most of the time it is the behaviors or foxes that we allow to be there that destroy our ability to be a high-performing organization.

CeCe, have you ever thought about us having three or four chickens in the backyard?


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Together, we can inspire leaders and team members to trust, care and serve people in intentional ways that lead to high performance and magnetic culture. Thanks so much for being a regular beBetter team member. I will be drawing two beBetter subscribers every week until June 6th for a free signed copy of Leading with Significance.

Pushing Past Fear