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5 talking pigs that taught us valuable business lessons

Management

5 talking pigs that taught us valuable business lessons

5 talking pigs that taught us valuable business lessons

Updated: Feb 17, 2017

1. Find the right business partner — Wilbur (Charlotte’s Web)

Wilbur the pig | Giphy

“You have been my friend…that in itself is a tremendous thing.”

From Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin, to Microsoft’s Bill Gates and Paul Allen, the business world is full of famous duos whose partnership was the key their success. Where would Hewlett be without Packard? Or Steve Jobs without Steve Wozniak? Can you even imagine a world where Ben never met Jerry?

Wilbur was a kind and lovable runt, but it was his partnership with Charlotte that truly made him “some pig!” Wilbur did the grunt work, providing flies for Charlotte’s web, while Charlotte developed a marketing strategy around industry buzzwords like “terrific,” “radiant,” and “humble.”

In the end, Wilbur and Charlotte’s mutual respect transcended the professional realm and led to a beautiful friendship. On Charlotte’s deathbed, Wilbur promised to raise her babies as his own. This kind of loyalty is rarely matched by human business partners — although William Procter did marry the sister of James Gamble’s wife, making the heirs of P&G all first cousins.

2. Express gratitude openly and regularly — Piglet (Winnie the Pooh)

Piglet the pig | Giphy

“Even though he had a very small heart, it could hold a rather large amount of gratitude.”

Piglet may be small, but he had one of the biggest hearts in the Hundred Acre Wood. Compassion is not a quality that’s often associated with cutthroat business people, but remembering to appreciate those around you can have a major positive impact on your business.

According to Geoffrey James, the author of several award winning books on sales strategies and a contributing editor at Inc.com, gratitude is the key to lifelong happiness and long term business success. But gratitude is like a muscle that must be exercised. Piglet’s regular expressions of gratitude helped him build a diverse and loyal group of friends who stood by him through thick and thin.

Genuinely showing appreciation to your customers builds trust and increases the likelihood of repeat business. Meanwhile, remembering to thank your co-workers for all their hard work is a vital way to increase employee happiness and decrease costly turnover.

3. Believe in yourself — Miss Piggy (The Muppet Show)

Miss Piggy the pig | Giphy

“I don’t care what you think of me, unless you think I’m awesome. In which case you are right.”

Long before Mary Barra steered General Motors out of the recession and Sheryl Sandberg taught millions of millennial women how to “lean in,” Miss Piggy was an outspoken, albeit unruly feminist icon. In a world where women who negotiate are 30% more likely than men to receive feedback that they are “bossy” or “too aggressive,” Miss Piggy has never been afraid to speak her mind.

The famous female Muppet was not embarrassed by her shortcomings or afraid of making a mistake. She constantly learned new skills including French, tap dancing, operatic singing, and karate — all without batting a perfectly curled eyelash.

Miss Piggy’s confidence and bravado was rewarded with a lucrative career in TV and film. She even found success in literature: Miss Piggy’s Guide to Life landed a spot on the New York Times Best Seller List. For her groundbreaking work, Miss Piggy was awarded the prestigious Sackler Center First Award in 2015 — an award also given to Toni Morrison and Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

4. Don’t make hiring decisions based solely on a resume — Babe (Babe)

Babe the pig | Giphy

“Animals that don’t seem to have a purpose really do have a purpose.”

The story of this sheep-herding pig is perhaps one of the most inspirational. Babe overcame all the odds stacked against him as a young, orphaned swine on a small farm. He took up a practical skill and diligently studied as an apprentice until he was good enough to compete with the best sheep dogs in the country. Even though he lacked the “pedigree” typically associated with animals in the industry, Babe proved he could do the job just as well.

It can be tempting for business owners to use an applicant’s educational credentials as a proxy or “shortcut” for measuring their intelligence. But the truth is there are probably many qualified individuals who could fill that open role — even if without a degree from a top university.

By focusing instead on general cognitive ability and social behaviors, you can often find someone who is a better fit for the role and eager to take on more responsibilities within your company. Google is beginning to understand this lesson. Their Head of People Operations recently announced the tech giant will start shying away from hiring at brand name schools.

5. Learn to live with failure — Pumbaa (The Lion King)

Pumbaa the pig | Giphy

“I’m a sensitive soul, though I seem thick-skinned.”

Though not domesticated like the other swine on this list, Pumbaa taught us all a very valuable business lesson: living with failure means facing it head on.

When Timon and Pumbaa first met young Simba, they exclaimed Hakuna Matata was their worry-free philosophy. Like the many entrepreneurial evangelists who write endlessly about the failed starts of Lincoln, Edison, Churchill, and Oprah, Pumbaa was obsessed with telling other people just how okay he was with making mistakes. Failure wasn’t only an option, it was something to be celebrated.

The problem is, when you say that too many times, it starts to ring a little false. Pumbaa didn’t become a real hero until he returned to Pride Rock to join the fight against Scar and the hyenas. As a business owner, you will likely face failures — but the really successful entrepreneurs are the ones that learn from their lessons and get back in the saddle to build something more resilient.

This little piggy

I’ve heard you humans like your pigs wrapped in warm blankets, so this little piggy will wrap up his rant with one last piece of advice:

If you’re in the market for affordable business financing, put down the roast beef and visit fundingcircle.com. They’re much easier to work with than a bank. And with affordable rates starting at 4.99% and a decision in as little as 24 hours, you’ll go weeeee all the way home.

The Third Little Pig

Part-time mason. Full-time brother.

Tags: Management

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