Once upon a time a tortoise and a harehad an argument about who was faster.They decided to settle the argument witha race. They agreed on a route and startedoff the race.
The hare shot ahead and ran briskly forsome time. Then seeing that he was farahead of the tortoise, he thought hed situnder a tree for some time and relaxbefore continuing the race.
He sat under the tree and soon fellasleep. The tortoise plodding on overtookhim and soon finished the race, emergingas the undisputed champ.
The hare woke up and realized that hedlost the race. The moral of the story is thatslow and steady wins the race.
This is the version of the story that weveall grown up with.
But then the story is NOT over. Themodern day Hare and the modern dayTortoise do NOT leave it at that.They do not let things lie.It continues.
The hare was disappointed at losing therace and he did some Defect Prevention(Root Cause Analysis). He realized thathed lost the race only because he hadbeen overconfident, careless and lax.
If he had not taken things for granted,theres no way the tortoise could havebeaten him. So he challenged the tortoiseto another race. The tortoise agreed.
This time, the hare went all out and ranwithout stopping from start to finish. Hewon by several miles.
The moral of the story？ Fast andconsistent will always beat the slow andsteady.
If you have two people in your organization,one slow, methodical and reliable, and the otherfast and still reliable at what he does, the fastand reliable person will consistently climb theorganizational ladder faster than the slow,methodical person.
Moral:Its good to be slow and steady; but itsbetter to be fast and reliable.
But the story doesnt end here.The tortoise did some thinking this time,and realized that theres no way he canbeat the hare in a race the way it wascurrently formatted.
He thought for a while, and thenchallenged the hare to another race, buton a slightly different route.
The hare agreed. They started off. Inkeeping with his self-made commitment tobe consistently fast, the hare took off andran at top speed until he came to a broadriver.
The finishing line was a couple ofkilometers on the other side of the river.
The hare sat there wondering what to do.In the meantime the tortoise trundledalong, got into the river, swam to theopposite bank, continued walking andfinished the race.
The moral of the story?First identify your core competency andthen change the playing field to suit yourcore competency.
In an organization, if you are a goodspeaker, make sure you createopportunities to give presentations thatenable senior management to notice you.
If your strength is analysis, make sureyou do some sort of research, make areport and send it upstairs. Working toyour strengths will not only get younoticed but will also create opportunitiesfor growth and advancement.
Its good to be individually brilliant & tohave strong core competencies; butunless youre able to work in a team &harness each others core competencies,youll always perform below par becausethere will always be situations at whichyoull do poorly & someone else does well.
Teamwork is mainly about situationalleadership, letting the person with therelevant core competency for a situationtake leadership.
There are more lessons to be learnt fromthis story.
Note that neither the hare nor the tortoisegave up after failures. The hare decided towork harder and put in more effort afterhis failure.
The tortoise changed his strategybecause he was already working as hardas he could. In life, when faced withfailure, sometimes it is appropriate towork harder and put in more effort.
And sometimes it is appropriate tochange strategy and try somethingdifferent.And sometimes it is appropriate to doboth.
The hare and the tortoise also learntanother vital lesson.When we stop competing against a rivaland instead start competing against thesituation, we perform far better.
When Roberto Goizueta took over as CEOof Coca-Cola in the 1980s, he was facedwith intense competition from Pepsi thatwas eating into Cokes growth.
His executives were Pepsi-focussed andintent on increasing market share 0.1 percent a time. Market ShareMarket Share
Goizueta decided to stop competingagainst Pepsi and instead competeagainst the situation of 0.1 per centgrowth.
He asked his executives what was theaverage fluid intake of an American perday? The answer was 14 ounces.What was Cokes share of that? Twoounces. Goizueta said Coke needed alarger share of that market.
The competition wasnt Pepsi. It was thewater, tea, coffee, milk and fruit juices thatwent into the remaining 12 ounces. Thepublic should reach for a Coke wheneverthey felt like drinking something.
To this end, Coke purchased Powerade tocapture the 24 hour cycle of eachAmerican: starting right from theBreakfast table onwards(In India Limca, Maaza, Thumbs up)
The moral of the story? Its good to beindividually brilliant & to have strong corecompetencies; but unless youre able towork in a team & harness each otherscore competencies, youll always performbelow par because there will always besituations at which youll do poorly andsomeone else does well.
To sum up, the story of the hare and tortoise teaches usmany things.Important lessons are:• That fast and consistent will always beat slow andsteady;• Work to your competencies;• Pooling resources and working as a team will alwaysbeat individual performers;• Never give up when faced with failure;• Finally, compete against the situation. Not against arival.