龜 兔 賽 跑 另 一 章
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
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 Defect
Prevention (Root Cause Analysis). 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
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
until he came to a broad river. The finishing line was a couple of kilometres
The hare sat there wondering what to do. In the meantime the tortoise
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 andadvancement.
The story still hasn't ended.
The hare and the tortoise, by this time, had become pretty good friends and
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.
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
as he could. In life, when faced with failure, sometimes it is appropriate to
The hare and the tortoise also learnt another vital lesson. When we stop
competing against a rival and instead start competing against the situation,
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
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 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