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Charlotte Butler

These words can be found in the well-known fable by Greek Fabulist and story teller, Aesop’s The Tortoise and The Hare. I first heard the story while lying in the lounge in our home in Port Elizabeth. I listened to it often on our Hi-Fi. It was one of my favourite LP’s – yes vinyl.

In fact, those words; Slow and Steady Wins the Race, became my mantra for most of my life.

I always believed that if I just remained consistent, reliable, dependable and put my head down and shoulder to the wheel, slowly, slowly I would succeed. And I did. Slowly, slowly…

I agreed with Bruce Lee when he said: Long term consistency trumps short term intensity.

Until recently that is. Everything is changing so fast. If you don’t keep up you will be seriously and detrimentally left behind. In life and in business. We can’t plod along like the Tortoise with “business as usual” when all around us is business unusual. One can’t be caught napping like the Hare. 


So, does the fable no longer have any relevance for us today? I must admit to spending sometime grappling with this question. I mean, it just sounds so darn good!  My conclusion: (disclaimer: only my conclusion) like any good fable – yes it does. It’s really just about how you apply it. 

We are constantly being bombarded with new and amazing “stuff”: gadgets, new ways of thinking, exciting advancements in technology, earth shattering scientific advancements, need I go on. So being slow in business is not an option. It’s a no brainer that we not only have to keep up with the pack, we should be looking to lead it!

But let’s be slow to jump into bed with new fads, flash in the pans, charlatans (I resent how close that is to my own name!). Let’s do due diligence, let’s not chase our tails, let’s slowly and steadily explore what is good for us, our company, our people, our vision. And then, implement quickly and effectively.

We can grow slowly and steadily all the while quickly embracing change and adapting to our situation. 


Slow is not a four lettered dirty word, it is an important part of so many invaluable truths: He who is slow to anger, has great understanding. Slow fires will smolder for a long time. Slow down and smell the roses. Slowly read through your contract (ok, I made that one up). I’m sure you have a few of your own you could throw into the mix.

And no matter how fast you change or adapt do it steadily. This talks to character, it’s about HOW you quickly change. Through all the chaos that change can sometimes bring, remain steady in your commitments, your vision, your mission, your values.

I guess I am still going to be holding onto those words from my childhood story. As Abraham Lincoln said: I will prepare and someday my chance will come. Ready, steady, GO!