A Japanese company ( Toyota ) and an American company (GM) 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
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.
Sadly, The End.