The American and the Japanese corporate offices for a large multi-national
corporation decided to engage in a competitive boat race. Both teams
practiced hard and long to reach their peak performance.
On the big day they felt ready. The Japanese team won by a mile.
Afterward, the American team was discouraged by the loss. Morale sagged.
Corporate management decided that the reason for the crushing defeat had
to be found, so a consulting firm was hired to investigate the problem and
recommended corrective action.
The consultant's finding: The Japanese team had eight people rowing and
one person steering; the American team had one person rowing and eight
people steering. After a year of study and millions spent analyzing the
problem, the
consultant firm concluded that too many people were steering and not
enough were rowing on the American team. So, as race day neared again the
following year, the American team's management structure was completely
reorganized. The new structure:
four steering managers,
three area steering managers and
a new performance review system for the person rowing the boat to provide
work incentive.
The next year, the Japanese won by two miles. Humiliated, the American
office laid-off the rower for poor performance and gave the managers a
bonus for discovering the problem."