No you haven’t read this story of the Hare and the Tortoise before. No it’s not the ‘new management school’ version you’ve also read. This is my take on Mr. Hare & Mr. Tortoise (no male-chauvinism intended!).
But before I begin let me point out that we all know about the original author Aesop. But who is the author of the ‘new’ version?
When I first saw it, it was attributed to a Professor in some American sounding University. When the dazzle of the first read died down, I did a Google search of both the Prof and the University – and surprise, surprise, neither existed!!
Then as I searched afresh with keywords of the story, dozens of results turned up with the story published on many sites – from schools, colleges, HR consultants, including a variation of the story from Kerala and this one here.
Now, times as they are, unless someone points me to the original authors, I will think the original story was outsourced from India, and the author or authors will remain anonymous!
Now for my story:
The Hare and The Tortoise – The Reality Series!
We are all awestruck by the simplicity of “Fast and Consistent versus Slow and Steady” and the way two little animals can show us how to run large corporations!
But is it all so simple? Let’s stargaze a bit…
Having practised all the variations and versions of the race, The Hare and the Tortoise decided to turn it into a profession, and make money out of it!
So they set up “The Great Hare & Tortoise Company”
On the first day in their new company, both Directors landed up at the starting line eager as beavers to race.
“Now relax and watch me fly at my Fast and Consistent best” said one.
“Hey! I am Fast and Consistent, I go first!” corrected the other “You are Slow and Steady…”
Cries of “No I am!” and “No I am!!” filled the morning as the two argued about who was whom. And the race was abandoned.
- New Learning One: Speed, Consistency, and other such values are subjective. One man’s Hare, is another man’s Tortoise – and vice versa.
- New Learning Two: Being in power, often makes you forget who you are, and what you are actually capable of doing!
- New Learning Three: Two or more people cannot be expected to do the same job. Focus is lost, and chaos is found.
But the story doesn’t end there.
Now, being good corporate citizens, the two decided to do market research to find out “who they really were”…
These are the reactions they got from consumers:
- Consumer One: “You are neither Hare nor Tortoise. You are a Hyena – Others do the running and killing after which you stand around and pretend that you were “Fast and Consistent”.
- Consumer Two: “You are a Lazy Cow – You lie around all day chewing the cud, while your mental shell leaves you unmoved to the happenings around you. Therefore others think you are “Slow and Steady”
- Consumer Three: “You are a Mountain Goat – You keep banging your head into others, until they agree with whatever you say you are”.
- New Learning Four: Not everyone or everything is what it seems.
- New Learning Five: Scratch below the surface of labels, and look for results – irrespective of whether done fast or slow. Results are remembered, not styles.
But that is not the end of the story.
Hearing all the commotion in the Jungle, a Lion landed up at the meeting. The noise had disturbed the Lion, and the debate sounded very silly to him.
So with a mighty roar, the Lion ate up the Hare, the Tortoise, all those present. And he took over the Company.
Moral of the Story:
Winning is not about speed, consistency or a combination of the two – it’s about Leadership with vision, ability and passion.
Every race will have its Hares and Tortoises. A good leader recognises them and uses them to his and the company’s benefit.