Applying Six Sigma to the Tale of the Tortoise and the Hare

Do you remember one of Aesop’s Fables, “The Tortoise and the Hare”? Long ago, there was a hare that would make fun of the tortoise because he moved so slowly. Then the hare would brag about how he was the fastest around. So the tortoise finally got fed up and challenged the hare to a race. Luckily, the tortoise knew about the Six Sigma tool of the 5 Whys. By asking the question of why 5 times, you can determine the root cause of any issue, and therein lies a solution for that issue.

What the tortoise did:

  • Documented and elaborated on the hare’s basic issues
  • He questioned why the hare’s issues occurred and came up with some possible solutions and ways he could win the race against the hare
  • He repeated the steps above until he got to the root cause of these issues

What the tortoise learned from the 5 Whys:

  • That the hare was easily distracted
  • That the hare seem to watch the tortoise a lot
  • That the hare was basically lazy and waited until the last minute to do things
  • That the hare had no methodical way or process for his day-to-day tasks

So, the tortoise chose the route of the race, knowing perfectly well that the hare would be distracted and take time off, because he was basically lazy. The tortoise, on the other hand had a surefire process that he did every day and never veered from his focus, thus winning the race.

The moral of the story is, success will follow if you, have a plan and do things slowly and steadily, than by rushing to get ahead.

The Six Sigma methodology can certainly be applied beyond the business world. For more information on our Six Sigma courses or services, please visit 6sigma.us.

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