How True Is The Story ?

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How True Is The Story ?

Category : Quality Management

Once upon time, an aerospace company and a Japanese automobile company decided to have a competitive boat race. Both teams practiced hard and long to reach their peak performance. On the big day they both felt as ready as they could be.

Result: The Japanese won by a mile.

Afterwards, the aerospace 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 recommended appropriate corrective action.

Their conclusion: The problem was that the Japanese team had eight people rowing and one person steering, whereby the aerospace team had one person rowing and eight people steering. The aerospace Company 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 rowing!”

To prevent losing to the Japanese again next year, the 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 him more incentive to work harder. “We must give him empowerment and enrichment. That should accomplish our Total Quality Management goals!!”

The next year the Japanese won by two miles.

Humiliated, the aerospace company laid off the rower for poor performance, sold the paddles, cancelled all capital investment for new equipment, halted development of a new boat, gave a “High Performance” award to the consulting firm, then distributed the money saved as bonuses to the senior executives.


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