The hare and the tortoise – the hidden meaning you didn’t know

31st March 2015

I guess you know the story of the hare and the tortoise…

The tortoise challenged the hare to a race. The hare, being quicker, was over-confident. So he stopped for a quick sleep. Unfortunately for him, he overslept and the tortoise plodded along to victory.

The moral: slow and steady wins the day.

But, here’s the sequel…

The hare realised his error. So he challenged the tortoise to another race. This time he didn’t go to sleep, and sped along, winning easily.

The moral: fast and consistent is better than slow and steady.

And so the tortoise re-challenged the hare. But, this time, the tortoise chose another route to race along. One with a stream in the middle. The hare reached the stream first, but – unable to cross it – had to stop there. The tortoise plodded across, and won.

The moral: play to your own strengths/your competition’s weaknesses, and you’ll be successful.

But, by now, the hare and tortoise had become good friends. So, they decided to run the race together. This time, the tortoise rode on the hare’s back, who sprinted to the stream. They then swapped, and the tortoise carried the hare across the water. Once safely across, they swapped back, and they sped to the finish line, achieving a record time.

The moral: when working in a team, use each other’s strengths to win well, and win quickly. It’s often the only way to do so.

And the moral of this Tuesday Tip?

Well, it depends on your situation, and what you apply it to. But, in my experience, pretty much everybody can learn pretty much something from one of these stories:

  • Not left enough time to prepare a communication? Such that you have to wing it on the day? Slow and steady prep is better than none at all
  • Have some days when you sometimes communicate well, and others which aren’t so good? Be more consistent. Work out simple communication techniques you can embed, so you always do them – whatever the day, whatever your mood
  • Want to make the most of an opportunity, but have to beat the competition? Play to your strengths, not theirs. Smaller than them? Talk about how nimble you are. New to the industry? Talk about how you can bring best-practices from outside. When David fought Goliath, he didn’t go hand-to-hand. That would have been stupid. Instead, he stood a distance away – where Goliath couldn’t reach him – and hurled stones at him. That way, Goliath was bound to lose. He was a sitting duck
  • Working in a team? Find what everyone’s individual strengths are, and allocate jobs based on those. If there’s a ‘strength gap’, find someone new who has those strengths, rather than allocating the job to someone who isn’t good but happens to be available. Remember: availability is not a skill

Action point

Identify which of these lessons you can apply to your next communication. Then apply it.

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