The Hare and the tortoise: A new twist and tryst
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 monkey agreed to be the umpire and declare the winner. Once the monkey umpire fired the pistol, the hare shot ahead and ran briskly for some time and relaxed before continuing the race. He sat under the tree and went into a cat-nap. The tortoise persisted in its snail pace and soon finished the race. The monkey umpire declared the tortoise as the undisputed champion. The hare woke up and realized that he had lost the race.
The hare was disappointed at losing the race and he did some Defect Prevention or Root Cause Analysis. He realized that he had lost the race only because he had been over-confident, careless and lax
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 monkey declared that the hare now is the new world record holder.
Moral 1 : Fast and consistency will always beat the slow and steady.
If you have two people in your organization, one slow, methodical and reliable and the other fast and still reliable at what he/she does, the fast and reliable person will consistently climb the organizational ladder faster than the slow and methodical person.
Moral 2 :It is good to be slow and steady; however, it is better to be fast and reliable.
Now, the beaten tortoise did some thinking about his defeat in the race with the hare and realized that there is no way he can beat the hare in a race the way it was currently formatted. The tortoise developed a strategic plan and designed an operational plan. Then he challenged the hare for another race. The tortoise decided the route for the race. The hare agreed for the third race.
The gun was fired by the monkey umpire and the race had begun. In keeping with his self-made commitment to be consistently fast, the hare took off at lightning speed and ran at top speed until he came to the bank of a river and stopped abruptly. The finishing line was a couple of kilometers away, but on the other side of the river. The hare sat on the river bank wondering what to do. In the meantime the tortoise trundled along, got into the river waters, swam to the opposite bank, continued to amble along and victoriously crossed the finishing line. The monkey umpire declared the tortoise as the winner of race three.
Moral 3 : First identify your core competence and then change the playing field to suit your core competence.
In an organization, if you are a good speaker, make sure you create opportunities to give presentations that enable the senior management to notice you and appreciate you. If your strength is analysis, make sure you do some sort of research, write a report and make presentation to the bosses. Working to your strengths will not only get you noticed but will also create opportunities for growth and advancement.
Because of the clever ploy employed by the tortoise, the hare started respecting his competitor and peer. So far, the fleet footed hare was suffering from superiority complex and despising the crawling tortoise. This newfound respect towards the tortoise made the bonds of friendship grow strong between them. They started a dialogue between them and started thinking together. The hare and the tortoise realized that they could have run race number three in a much better fashion. Therefore, they decided to have a fourth race on the same track, where the third race was held. However, they also decided to dump the one-up-man-ship race culture and run the last race as a Team.
The fourth race commenced with the pistol shot fired by the monkey umpire. They did not race off. The tortoise mounted on the back of the hare. With the usual speedy run of the hare, both of them reached this side of the river bank. They stopped. Then the hare mounted on the back of the tortoise. With the Tortoise becoming agile in the water, they reached the other bank in record time. Once on the land, the hare carried the tortoise on its back and they both crossed the finishing line in a world record breaking time.
The monkey umpire declared both the hare and the tortoise as joint winners of the race and the new world record holders. Both the runners felt a greater sense of satisfaction than they had felt earlier.
Moral 4 : It is good to be individually brilliant and to have strong core competence; but, unless you are able to work in a team and work as a team, you will always perform below par, because there will always be situations at which you will do poorly and someone else does well
Team-work is mainly about situational leadership, letting the person with the relevant core competence take over the leadership the playing field changes.
(1) Neithert the hare nor the tortoise gave up after defeats. The hare decided to work harder and put in more effort after hie failure. The tortoise worked smarter after losing the race.
(2) Sometimes it is appropriate to change strategy and try something different. Sometimes it is more appropriate to do both.
(3) Both the hare and the tortoise learnt a vital truth. When we refrain from needless competition against a perceived rival and start competing together against the prevalent play field and the present situation, we perform better.