I was back on the Natchez Trace again (see last week’s post), but this time it was a turtle in the road. Not hurt in any way, just crossing the road very sloooooooooooowly—a target for the next car. Remembering my failure with the cardinal, I moved the turtle to the side of the road out of the danger zone—yeah, Dick!
As I continued my walk, I began to think of turtles as employees and how they contrast to race horses which are much faster and realized that some of my best employees have been turtles.
Race horses are fast, but have little endurance. Turtles are slow, but keep going all day.
Race horses are fragile. They break easily and need lots of attention. Turtles are hard-shelled and tough and prefer to be left alone to do turtle stuff.
Race horses are temperamental and have their feelings easily hurt. They have to rest for weeks between races. Turtles go about their business without much fuss and don’t need much couch time.
Race horses need private stalls, trainers, gourmet oats and bottled water—they’re spoiled. Turtles are happy with whatever comes their way–thankful for a good meal and a roof over their head (which they have all the time).
When race horses make their entrance, horns blow and people cheer. Then all but one of them lose. When turtles make their entrance…well actually, turtles don’t make an entrance.
Every organization needs both race horses and turtles. Race horses get all the press, but turtles are crucial to success too. Disagree with me? Fire all your turtles and see how you like working with nothing but race horses.
"The best way to lead people into the future is to connect with them deeply in the present."
Kouzes & Posner