Sad but True or Would Be Funny

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Master of the Pit
Original poster
OTBS Member
Jun 20, 2007
Troy AL
A Modern Parable

A Japanese company ( Toyota ) and an American company (General
Motors) decided to have a canoe race on the Missouri River . Both teams
practiced long and hard to reach their peak performance before the race. On
the big day, the Japanese won by a mile.

The Americans, very discouraged and depressed, decided to
investigate the reason for the crushing defeat. A management team made up of
senior management was formed to investigate and recommend appropriate
action. Their conclusion was the Japanese had 8 people rowing and 1 person
steering, while the American team had 8 people steering and 1 person rowing.

Feeling a deeper study was in order, American management hired
a consulting company and paid them a large amount of money for a second
opinion. They advised, of course, that too many people were steering the
boat, while not enough people were rowing.

Not sure of how to utilize that information, but wanting to
prevent another loss to the Japanese, the rowing team's management structure
was totally reorganized to 4 steering supervisors, 3 area steering
superintenden ts and 1 assistant superintendent steering manager. They also
implemented a new performance system that would give the 1 person rowing the
boat greater incentive to work harder It was called the 'Rowing Team Quality
First Program,' with meetings, dinners and free pens for the rower. There
was discussion of getting new paddles, canoes and other equipment, extra
vacation days for practices and bonuses.

The next year the Japanese won by two miles.

Humiliated, the American management laid off the rower for
poor performance, halted development of a new canoe, sold the paddles, and
canceled all capital investments for new equipment. The money saved was
distributed to the Senior Executives as bonuses and the next year's racing
team was out-sourced to India .

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