The story of
Tortoise & Hare- a new version
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Once upon a time a tortoise and a hare had an argument about who was faster.
They decided to settle the argument with a race. They agreed on a route and
started off the race. The hare shot ahead and ran briskly for some time. Then
seeing that he was far ahead
of the tortoise, he thought he'd sit under a tree for some time and relax before
continuing the race. He sat under the tree and soon fell asleep.
The tortoise plodding on overtook him and
soon finished the race, emerging as the undisputed champ. The hare woke up and
realised that he'd lost the race.
The moral of the story is that slow and steady wins the race. This is the
version of the story that we've all grown up with.
But then recently, someone told me a more interesting version of this story.
It continues :
The hare was disappointed at losing the race and he did some soul-searching. He
realised that he'd lost the race only because he had been overconfident,
careless and lax. If he had not taken things for granted, there's no way the
tortoise could have beaten him. So he challenged the tortoise to another race.
The tortoise agreed. This time, the hare went all out and ran without stopping
from start to finish. He won by several miles.
The moral of the story?
Fast and consistent will always beat the slow and steady. If you have two people
in your organisation, one slow, methodical and reliable, and the other fast and
still reliable at what he does, the fast and reliable chap will consistently
climb the organisational ladder faster than the slow, methodical chap. It's good
to be slow and steady; but it's better to be fast and reliable.
But the story doesn't end here. The tortoise did some thinking this time, and
realised that there's no way he can beat the hare in a race the way it was
currently formatted. He thought for a while, and then challenged the hare to
another race, but on a slightly different route. The hare agreed.
They started off. In keeping with his self-made commitment to be consistently
fast, the hare took off and ran at top speed until he came to a broad river. The
finishing line was a couple of
kilometres on the other side of the river. The hare sat there wondering what to
do. In the meantime the tortoise trundled along, got into the river, swam to the
opposite bank, continued walking and finished the race.
The moral of the story?
First Identify your core competency and then change the playing field to suit
your core competency. In an organisation, if you are a good speaker,make sure
you create opportunities to give
presentations that enable the senior management to notice you.
If your strength is analysis, make sure you do some sort of research, make a
report and send it upstairs. Working to your strengths will not only get you
noticed, but will also create opportunities for growth and advancement.
The story still hasn't ended. The hare and the tortoise, by this time, had
become pretty good friends and they did some thinking together. Both realised
that the last race could have been run
So they decided to do the last race again, but to run as a team this time. They
started off, and this time the hare carried the tortoise till the
riverbank.There, the tortoise took over and swam
across with the hare on his back. On the opposite bank, the hare again carried
the tortoise and they reached the finishing line together. They both felt a
greater sense of satisfaction than they'd felt earlier.
The moral of the story?
It's good to be individually brilliant and to have strong core competencies; but
unless you're able to work in a team and harness each other's core competencies,
you'll always perform below par because there will always be situations at which
you'll do poorly and someone else does well. Teamwork is mainly about
situational leadership, letting the person with the relevant core
competency for a situation take leadership.
There are more lessons to be learnt from this story. Note that neither the hare
nor the tortoise gave up after failures. The hare decided to work harder and put
in more effort after his failure. The tortoise changed his strategy because he
was already working as hard as he could. In life, when faced with failure,
sometimes it is appropriate to work harder and put in more effort. Sometimes it
is appropriate to change strategy and try something different. And sometimes it
is appropriate to do both.
The hare and the tortoise also learnt another vital lesson. When we stop
competing against a rival and instead start competing against the situation, we
perform far better.
You think it's a sub-standard bakwaas? Read on
When Roberto Goizueta took over as CEO of Coca-Cola in the 1980s, he was faced
with intense competition from Pepsi that was eating into Coke's growth. His
executives were Pepsi-focussed and intent on increasing market share 0.1 per
cent a time. Goizueta decided to stop competing against Pepsi and instead
compete against the situation of 0.1 per cent growth. He asked his executives
what was the average fluid intake of an American per day?
The answer was 14 ounces. What was Coke's share of that? Two ounces. Goizueta
said Coke needed a larger share of that market. The competition wasn't Pepsi. It
was the water, tea, coffee, milk and fruit juices that went into the remaining
12 ounces. The public should reach for a Coke whenever they felt like drinking
something. To this end, Coke put up vending machines at every street corner.
Sales took a quantum jump and Pepsi has never quite caught up since.
To sum up, the story of the hare and tortoise teaches us many things. Chief
among them are
(1) fast and consistent will always beat slow and steady;
(2) work to your competencies;
(3) pooling resources and working as a team will always beat individual
(4) never give up when faced with failure; and finally,
(5) compete against the situation - not against a rival.
( Source: Internet )