When It Comes to Inclusion, Be The Tortoise

Corey Ponder
4 min readJan 11, 2020

In the fable of the tortoise and the hare, we see the patient, consistent, tortoise wins a race against the faster hare. Literally, the tortoise caught the hare sleeping.

And while we can debate whether this fable could actually net out to be true in the real world (I’d argue yes — I present this one YouTube video above as proof), the power of the lesson can be applied to many aspects of our lives.

Consistency always wins in the end.

This is just as true for improving diversity and inclusion within organizations. Too often, we opt for expediency and sacrifice substance and longevity in the process. Either because there is a difficult decision to make between increasing capacity immediately and developing inclusion over time, or because all values are not treated equally.

Maybe you’ve heard or seen these sentiments expressed before…

  • We need to hire someone now and we don’t have time to expand our search.
  • We have a number of qualified candidates already.
  • Diversity is one of our important values, and we must balance that with other equally important values (.i.e. speed, efficiency, culture fit).

Whether recruiting or retaining talent or having difficult conversations about developing policies or practices that address difficult and complex diversity challenges, it’s easy to default to solutions that don’t limit our sprint. If an idea to address workforce complaints about lack of diversity can be implemented with relatively few barriers, that becomes more attractive than slowing down or stopping to feel each bump in the road, because we aren’t being forced to break our stride.

And it feels good. We see companies mistake their speed for progress, and like the hare, rest on the laurels of their accomplishments, while the real challenge laps them. But this shouldn’t be about speed; building inclusion is about consistency.

Building inclusion is also about confronting difficult challenges. Realizing that a potential solution is complicated or not straightforward is not an excuse for inaction. Yet, it sometimes becomes one. Rather than…

Corey Ponder

Tech policy professional by day, wannabe superhero by night. Passionate about building communities, spaces, and platforms focused on inclusion and empathy.