The Americans and the Japanese 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 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
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
corporation laid off the rower for poor performance and gave the managers a
bonus for discovering the problem."