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Thread Starter 
Canoe Race
A Japanese company and an American company
decided to have a canoe race on the Missouri River. Both teams
practiced long and hard to reach 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 of senior
management was formed to investigate and recommend the best 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

Feeling a deeper study was in order, American management hired a
consulting company and paid them a large amount of money for a second

They advised, of course, that too many people wer e 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 and
one rower.

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

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.