Alibris Secondhand Books Standard

Sunday, March 18, 2007

the boat race

Once upon a time an American aerospace company and the Chinese decided to have a competitive boat race on the Detroit River. Both practiced long and hard to reach their peak performance. On the big day they both felt as ready as they could be. The Chinese won by a mile!

Afterwards, the American team became very discouraged by the loss and morale sagged. Corporate management decided that the reason for the crushing defeat had to be found. A Continuous Measurable Improvement Team was set up to investigate the problem and to recommend appropriate corrective action. Their conclusion:

The problem was that the Chinese team had eight people rowing and one person steering, whereas the American team had one person rowing and eight people steering. The corporate steering committee immediately hired a consulting firm to do a study on the management structure. After some time and millions of dollars, the consulting firm concluded that too many people were steering and not enough people rowing.

To prevent losing to the Chinese again next year, the American team's management structure was totally reorganized to four steering managers, three area steering managers, one staff steering manager and a new performance system for the person rowing the boat, to give more incentive to work harder. "We must give him empowerment and enrichment. That ought to do it."

The next year the Chinese won by two miles.

Another meeting was called. This time the American team's managers decided to include the person rowing the boat in the area steering management committee. This was a sure way of finding a winning combination. They listened patiently to what the rower had to say, making comments at crucial points and helping him to come to a workable conclusion. So they set out again, only this time the rower was included not only as a rower but also as a part of the steering team.

The next year the Chinese won by three miles.

Humiliated, the American corporation laid off the rower for poor performance, sold all of the paddles, uniforms, life jackets as well as the new equipment, halted development of a new canoe and distributed the money saved as bonuses to the senior executives.



At 3/18/2007 9:28 PM, Blogger BruceA said...

This is my first post after transferring to the New Blogger. If you experience any problems with commenting, please let me know by email, bruce(at)brucealderman(dot)info.

At 3/23/2007 10:32 PM, Blogger Steve Hayes said...

Did you see the one about the lifeboat station?

At 3/25/2007 12:34 AM, Blogger BruceA said...

No, I haven't seen it.

At 3/30/2007 6:27 AM, Anonymous lorna (see through faith) said...



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