Animals, Inc.

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Animals, Inc.

A Business Parable for the 21st century

By Kenneth A.Tucker and Vandana Allman

When I first started to read this book, it seems a bit strange to have a story of a farm run by animals. In fact, I felt that it is quite bored till the middle of the book. The real fun and strong message lies at the end of the story. It is very unique.

When Farmer Good decides to retire, his animals take on the business themselves. This proves to be no easy task, however, even for a seasoned pig like Moe. Moe makes his biggest mistake early on-he values the knowledge he gleans from business books over common sense. 

Based on those business books, he tried to make all the animals believe that they can fill any role with suitable education.  The big joke is when the Scarecrow is promoted to do egg production. Previously, he had signed up for Laying Up on the Job course – Techniques of Egg Production. Scarecrow was very excited about his course, believing it to be the first step towards his new career.

The course was taught by experienced chickens, it covered everything from the Theory and Techniques of Egg Laying to Secrets of the Egg-Laying Professionals. Most of the students in the course were young chickens and ducks or older poultry taking a refresher course. While they had natural ability, nobody worked harder than Scarecrow. 

Scarecrow even practised the bending postures for hours at a time. He worked on strengthening the stomach muscles necessary to push out an egg, he spent many nights warming a wooden egg, and he did all the suggested visualizations. He was a dedicated, motivated student, acing all the written tests. In fact, he was the best student in the class. In fact, the only thing he didn’t do was actually lay an egg.

So this parable as a simple but powerful lesson is to explain a basic but very vital business lesson: that executives, managers, and employees should learn how to focus on their strengths in their workplace and offices rather than spend too much time concentrating on their weaknesses.

I think the ending part is the best one in which the animals managed to outwit Mr Biggs – the over-hungry land developer who hopes to take over the farm by using despicable methods to bring down the farm. Read on for a portion of the exchange between Mo and Mr Biggs.

Mo : “But it seems that you’ve been giving that information to the newspaper – you even made up some of the stories – and then you bought and sold stock based on the stories that you knew were going to be published. I think that’s called … bad manners and also insider trading.

Biggs glared at Mo. “You pig,” he spewed. ” you can’t prove a thing. You don’t have any evidence.”

****************************************

Biggs “None of this matters. Do you hear me, none of it. I have friends in the government…” He leaned forward and sad, ” And they are going to put you out of business for using child labour.” But Mo was not threatened. “Mr Biggs,” he said pleasantly, ” I just happened to notice when we came in that you were eating an innocent chicken for dinner.”

“And?” Biggs responded. “Your point is…”

“Tell me, Biggs,” Mo demanded firmly, “just how old do you think that chicken you were eating was? Because if the government decides that the child labour laws should be applied to animals on the farm, then you…”

“No,” Biggs said, as the horrible truth swept over him.

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