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The Hare and the Tortoise: The race is not to speedy (XXVI). Pace of racing explained.

… and, after a time, the tortoise passed the place where the Hare was sleeping”…

The Hare and the Tortoise, a fable by Aesop.

Pace of racing explained.

As I explained last week, we are going to finish this saga in a few days. Please, take notice: We will complete this saga on July 23rd. Then we will splash into our 2 weeks’ vacation, just to return back on August 10th for the inauguration of the third saga of 2021: “Portfolio Analysis: Igniting long term spirit into a short-term world”.

Our story is almost completed.

Today we will continue with the subject “Pace of racing explained”. So, let´s begin.  Remember in corporate strategy, we always start by asking ourselves questions. And that is how we will initiate our production for today:

What is a pace in the context of this saga? Pace is the rate of speed at which a person, an animal, or a group of living species moves. Moving means beyond a dynamic “get-up-and-go” of walking or running or driving or flying or navigating in waters.  The rate of speed includes an activity which can be dynamic (from A to B) and it also includes activities which can be static, in which we don´t move our position but we move our ideas or notions or understandings. These last motions relate to actions as thinking, analyzing, writing, meditating, reflecting, taking decisions, praying, communicating or  any intellectual activity that helps to pacesetters to perform their role of mental picturing.

What is a pacesetter? A pacesetter is something or someone that sets the standard for others to follow. It could be a technology, a machine, a fashion, a leader, a process or an ethical impeccable person that is widely copied and imitated. When the pacesetter is a person, this one has a crucial role model protagonist aura, because he or she determines the rate of action through leading. A pacesetter when considered as a trend can activate an alteration of the social dimension of living inside a civilization; if going to extremes, it can disrupt the social order and create chaos not for the better, but for the worst. A synonym of pacesetter is a pacer or trendsetter or standard-setter.

A pacer is a metronome, for example.

Which are the components of a pacesetter?

  1. Speed: calculated in terms of a distance or the measure of the activity divided by a unit of time (days, hour, minute, seconds, nanoseconds). For example: A reasonable speed for driving our cars in the cities is a range between 45 to 70 km/hour.
  2. Range: When playing the role of a pacesetter, the standards of excellence or top perfection (upper limit) are not going to be accomplished by everyone. Even if we try, the fact that we are all different, and we live in different contexts at the social, economic and educational level imposes us to use a range for the pace of our activities (dynamic or static). At a popular level, a range is defined as the area of variation between an upper and a lower limit on a particular scale of speed.
  3. Attractive Standards: for a pacesetter to exist, it has to show a pace in terms of a rate of speed or a frequency, but it has to be previously established and fixed. It has to be accepted by those who are following the pace; and it has to be used in assessing quality or performance. For example: In paintings, you can find several types of pigments and brands. Some paints brands have clearly defined three type of standards: The premium professional, the semi-professional and the student level. These are the common three paints standards. In the hand-made art painting industry, the standards of inputs are treasured for those who buy the artworks. In addition, the quality of the pigments determines the final quality of the oeuvre. Another example: In the financial industry, Moody´s or Fitch or Standard& Poor’s ratings are classification of stocks and bonds according to the risk of investment grade. In the case of S&P, the investment grade (AAA, AA, A, BBB, BB, etc) indicates the minimal risk that a corporate, municipal or sovereign issue holds in terms of default in its timely payment of interest and principal.  Bonds or stocks rated BB or below by Standard & Poor´s are considered speculative and highly risky. That is why each entity or country has to protect its credit risk rate very much.
  4. Keeps a consistent tempo: Have you seen a metronome? For those who play an instrument or who sing all together in a band, a metronome is a critical device. It is used by musicians that marks time at a selected rate by giving a regular tick. A metronome can help you keep a consistent tempo so that you don’t inadvertently speed up or slow down. It provides a steady click marking a musical interval.  Also pacesetters are used by runners or walkers, in that sense that is how they keep their workout intensity pace.

Pacesetter styles. Now that we have understood the components of a pacesetter, it is our turn to link it to our pace of racing in corporate strategy. Eleonora Escalante Strategy has defined three pace-setter styles to explain this concept:

  1. Speedy but dangerous
  2. Napping
  3. Slowly but steady
  1. Speedy but dangerous. The pace of corporate strategy when going “speedy but dangerous” involves a high degree of risks associated to the high rate of speed in which the decision making is considered, and its further implementation. Illustrations of this pacesetter style are those entrepreneurs who become the new innovators in businesses at a hurried velocity. Or those who implement blue ocean strategies to become the pioneers in new ventures with a high abnormal velocity, in their quest to gain an advantage over competitors.  This style of decision making and implementation has its clear advantages (the first mover reaps the profit pool of not having competitors), but at the same time it consumes strong disadvantages (the pioneer is linked to conceptual mistakes that can conduct to threats and danger of disappearance or punishment in the future).  It is like when you see a car racing at 190 km/hour: it will probably arrive first, but it will be impossible to maneuver it for the driver, in the case of an interruption. The driver will not able to stop to avoid an accident. The hazard of being speedy is always related to abrupt quick thinking (not considering a 360-degree vision, neither different scenarios and integral solution), pursuing a momentary glory, that in case of any little error, the consequences will be a disaster. Barred forever. To keep the tempo at a “speedy but dangerous” style requires multiple resources (economically), because on its way, in order to maintain the speed, the financing cushion must be “handy” and available, otherwise it is impossible to proceed. The peril of having resources without an audit or control checks, makes of this style an expensive one, in which so much is wasted for the sake of transient or momentary results. At the end of the day, the majority of “speedy but dangerous” endeavors at the corporate strategy levels end up being lost, and the consequences can be catastrophic (sometimes a tragedy) for populations, the environment and the earth´s sanity/wellbeing. An example of this type of style is the cryptocurrencies. A digital asset that has been confused as a monetary currency, is not just a big conceptual mistake, but a strike weapon that may ignite anarchy beyond unlimited levels.  Do not forget that public sector or government supported strikes are illegal. Another example are the non-tested new medical technologies used for massive vaccinations. A third example are the utilization of noxious or harmful plastics (without recycling) during the last century.
  2. Napping.  The pace of corporate strategy when “napping” is clearly defined as sleeping, being stationary (unmoving), at a null speed. That means that our level of activities is interrupted to zero, as when we sleep. This style is defined as “not doing anything, not thinking anything, not creating neither role modeling anything”.  The standards of napping are simply accompanying void “moving”,   insignificant or zero innovation (in our companies), or worthless investments in developing new standards or new elements for vertical integration, zero international expansion, null retrenchment, in one word: doing nothing. Napping is not stability. Stability in corporate strategy involves a certain degree of speed or continue doing business as usual. On the contrary, napping is like turning off our manufacturing plants and corporate head offices, and send all our people to sleep. Or in terms of our metronome, when napping, the device is turned off. In the case of the hare, the napping, was clearly the decision that provoked him to lose the race. Find below a metronome that is used by musicians. When music players turn off the metronome, they are lost.

3. Slowly but steady. This corporate strategy style is as it is written, exactly what it means: slowly-“unhurried, relaxed, gradual, deliberately drown-out but longwinded”. Steady- It is at the same time balanced, secure and relentless. Difficult to be broken. The “slowly but steady” maybe ceaseless, and it has an even and uniform space for a calm and integral corporate strategy.

This is the case for marathon runners. Those who practice running on a daily basis, known by heart what are we discussing here. The sprint runners are prepared to give it all at the highest speed rate in a short period of time. Once the race is over, these sprint athletes have zero air or energy to continue. They are kaput, over. On the contrary, a marathonist is a runner that is trained to run longer distances, and keep the pace and tempo “on point” to continue consecutively running. A marathonist can avoid accidents on its way, meanwhile a sprinter can´t do it, because its extreme velocity doesn´t let him or her to foresee danger and plan in advance for a different scheme, or to avoid (get around) the block road. The concept of cadence also helps to understand this:

The attractive standards of the “slowly but steady” are numerous. Not just in terms of cash inflows, but in terms of implementing the corporate strategy. The steady-growth method provides opportunities for balanced stability. It estimates the cost and impact on profitability by keeping a controlled investment speed rate over time, via various sources of business. It has a degree of diversification, that keeps them floating when in times of crisis. The “slow but steady” style provides enough time to help people in educational formation, and it adapts to the new challenges well with enough time in advance. In addition, it is able to keep those obsolescence skills that are being replaced by technologies, and it provides an economic demand space for high-quality handmade well-paid capabilities that will continue being omnipresent, regardless of automation or NAIQIs (Nanotechnologies, Artificial Intelligence, Quantum supremacy and the Internet). In addition, a “slow and steady” pacesetter functions with excellence, because it has a respected jury or a strong regulation arm of  wise experienced and integral sages (at the public and private levels). The regulation is not running behind the private sector initiatives (which are always running at sprint high speed), but the regulator acts as a filter to don´t allow the sprinter to create disruptively but to innovate with amalgamation and reconciliation with the old ways. In addition, the regulator is a facilitator along the way with the sprinters to stop them and to help the privates not just to slowdown in time, but to even disregard those ingenuous creativities that will represent danger to our civilization in the present and in the future.  Do you remember the role of the fox as the jury of our saga´s race? Well that is why regulators are crucial for the success of the “slowly but steady” strategists. Time in this scenario goes beyond the life of the business creators and their companies. Time is measured not in terms of 80 to 90 years, but at least for the next 400 years. In consequence, regulators are actively preventing the harm from inadequate business models. Our philosophy of slow and steady is the right one, no matter if it takes longer to define, design, approve and implement.

This is it for today. In my next publication, we will proceed with the subject “Setting the correct pace in corporate strategy”. We will learn to use the corporate strategy metronome and cadence in our business endeavors, and the reason why we need a metronome-tuner-decibel meter and a watch in our corporate strategy decision making. As when practicing music or running a marathon, our metronome is required in corporate strategy.

Have a nice week. Thank you for reading to me. Blessings.

Bibliography used today:

Disclaimer: Illustrations in Watercolor are painted by Eleonora Escalante. Other types of illustrations or videos (which are not mine) are used for educational purposes ONLY. Nevertheless, the majority of the pictures, images, or videos shown on this blog are not mine. I do not own any of the lovely photos or images posted unless otherwise stated.

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