The Unracing Rat
A family of rats lived in the middle of a young wheat field. As the days passed, the wheat stalks grew tall and the rodents had a feast gnawing away at all the wheat. Then, one day when the ripe golden grain waved in the breeze, the Farmer and his son came into the field. “This wheat is now ready for reaping,” said the Farmer. “We must call in our neighbors and friends to help us harvest it.”
The young rodents in their burrow close by were much frightened, for they knew they would be in great danger if they did not leave the burrow before the reapers came. But the wise old rodent reassured them: “Do not be frightened, if the Farmer said he would call in his neighbors and friends to help him do his work, this wheat will not be reaped for a while yet.”
A few days later, the wheat was so ripe that when the wind shook the stalks, a hail of wheat grains came rustling down on the young rodent heads. “If this wheat is not harvested at once,” said the Farmer, “we shall lose half the crop. We cannot wait any longer for help from our friends. Tomorrow, we must set to work, ourselves.”
Hearing this, the wise old rodent said: “We must be off at once. When a man decides to do his own work and not depend on anyone else, then you can be sure there will be no more delay.” At sunrise the next day, when the Farmer and his son cut down the grain, they found an empty burrow.
Business lesson? A little tricky one. You see, a lot of credit for professional success is credited to teamwork (and rightfully so). However the trouble arises when we overstretch the team collaboration concept, and start depending too much on others to execute our responsibilities!
This happens when the junior-tier is cushioned between spoon feeding by seniors, and knowledge pumping by training departments. When the mid-tier is busy extracting strategic direction from bosses while delegating tactical execution to subordinates. When the top-tier is occupied assimilating information from industry thought leaders, whilst they outsource operations to department heads! Result—while everyone is busy dividing responsibilities of execution between their leaders and followers, the rodents have a field day! The delays in execution eat up the wheat!
An execution-embedded thought process of an organization starts from the rolled-up-sleeves attitude of its leaders. Without doubt, a business that firmly believes and practices ‘tactical execution is the best strategy’ cannot go much wrong in the long run.