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The Tortoise and the Hare

Ashok Mash
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Joined: Oct 13, 2000
Posts: 1936
You might have read this before. If not, its a good one!
The Tortoise and the Hare (New Versions)
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 realized 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 realized 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 organization, 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 organizational 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 realized 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 kilometers 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. 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 realized that the last race could have been run much better. 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.
To sum up, the story of the hare and tortoise teaches us many things. Chief among them are that! Fast and consistent will always beat slow and steady; work to your competencies; pooling resources and working as a team will always beat individual performers; never give up when faced with failure; and finally, compete against the situation-not against a rival.

[ flickr ]
Al Newman
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Joined: Mar 30, 2003
Posts: 716
You left out the fox, Ashok.
The clever fella who entered the race in the last 100 yards a mile ahead of both the hare and the tortoise, and won by a mile.....
Sorry, I'm a cynic....

Marilyn de Queiroz

Joined: Jul 22, 2000
Posts: 9059
I like it.

"Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift; that's why they call it the present." Eleanor Roosevelt
Al Newman
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Joined: Mar 30, 2003
Posts: 716
The moral of the story is to pick a good employer, one where the glory hounds aren't the ultimate winner every time.
My last employer was a Big 5 consultantcy, a real glory hound kinda place. Hell for the tortoise and the hare.
My current one looks to value chastened hares and some tortoises, and do their best to weed out the glory hounds. Which is OK by me.
I had a good chuckle today. A recruiter called and wanted me to go out on a 'well-paid contract' for my late outfit. No thanx.....
Think I'll stick around here instead.
Randall Twede
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Joined: Oct 21, 2000
Posts: 4351

oh yeah, the son in law :roll:
nice story
[ September 05, 2003: Message edited by: Randall Twede ]

Visit my download page
A. Levi
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Joined: Jul 26, 2003
Posts: 97
If i were the hare I would kill the tortoise. Hire an offshore consultant to drive me the other side of the river. Kill the offshore consultant and win the race. how about that for a happy ending.
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Joined: Nov 22, 2008
Posts: 18944
But Levi there is a hunter there to kill to the hare...
A. Levi
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Joined: Jul 26, 2003
Posts: 97
Originally posted by <sunitha>:
But Levi there is a hunter there to kill to the hare...

Aint that a bitch. But i guess thats life. we are talking about winning whatever it takes to win a race
I agree. Here's the link:
subject: The Tortoise and the Hare
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