Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The American Way

A Chinese company and an American company decided to have a canoe
race on the Mississippi River. Both teams practiced long and hard to
reach their peak performance before the race.

On the big day, the Chinese 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
that the Chinese had 8 people rowing and 1 person steering, while the
American team had 8 people steering and 1 person rowing.

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

In order to improve the system, the Americans also required each
member of the team to write down their goals for team improv ement and
explain how they would meet those goals before next year's race. They
had quarterly meetings to discuss their progress.

To prevent another loss to the Chinese, 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 Chinese 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 eq uipment.

The money saved was distributed to the Senior Executives as bonuses
and the next year's racing team was outsourced to India.

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