Once upon a time, a turtle and a rabbit had an argument about who was faster. They decided to settle the argument with a race. The turtle and the rabbit both agreed on a route and started off the race. The rabbit shot ahead and ran briskly for some time. Then, seeing that he was far ahead of the turtle, he thought he could sit under a tree for some time and relax before continuing the race. He sat under the tree and soon fell asleep. The turtle plodding on, overtook him, and soon finished the race, emerging as the undisputed champion. The rabbit woke up and realized that he had lost the race. The moral of the story: Slow and steady wins the race. This is the version of the story that we have all grown up with. But our version of the story continues.
The rabbit was disappointed at losing the race and he did some thinking. He realized that he had lost the race only because he had been overconfident, careless and lax. If he had not taken things for granted, there was no way the turtle could have beaten him. So, he challenged the turtle to another race. The turtle agreed. This time, the rabbit went all out and ran without stopping from start to finish. He won by several kilometers. The moral of the story: Fast and consistent will always beat the slow and steady. It is good to be slow and steady, but it is better to be fast and reliable. But the story does not end here.
The turtle did some thinking this time. He realized that there was no way he could beat the rabbit in a race the way it was currently formatted. He thought for a while, and then challenged the rabbit to another race, but on a slightly different route. The rabbit agreed. The turtle and the rabbit started off. In keeping with his self-made commitment to be consistently fast, the rabbit took off and ran at top speed until he came to a broad river. The finishing line was a couple of kilometres on the other side of the river. The rabbit sat there wondering what to do. In the meantime, the turtle 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 has not ended.
The turtle and the rabbit, by this time, had become pretty good friends and they did some thinking together. They both realized that the last race could have been run much better. So the turtle and the rabbit decided to do the last race again, but to run as a team this time. They started off, and this time, the rabbit carried the turtle till the river bank. There, the turtle took over and swam across with the rabbit on his back. On the opposite bank, the rabbit again carried the turtle and they reached the finishing line together. Both the turtle and rabbit felt a greater sense of satisfaction than they had felt earlier. The moral of the story: It is good to be brilliant and to have core competencies but unless you are able to work in a team and harness each other’s competencies, you will always perform below par because there will always be situations at which you will 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. That is the end of the story.