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Friday, April 20, 2007

342. A Modern Parable

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 superintendents 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.

The End.

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