The Americans and the Japanese decided to engage in a competitive rowing
race. Both teams practiced hard and long to reach their peak performance. On the
big day they both 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 recommend
The consultants' finding: The Japanese team had eight people rowing and one
person steering; the American team had one person rowing (Working) and eight
people steering (Freeloading ).
After a year of study and millions spent analyzing the problem, the
consulting firm concluded that too many were steering and not enough were rowing
on the American team. (i.e., US Government !!!)
So, as race day neared again the following year, the American team's
structure was complete reorganized. The new structure: four steering managers,
three area steering managers, one staff steering manager and a new performance
review system for the person rowing the boat to provide work incentive.
This 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.
The following year the American team bought a new "off the shelf"
racing team. One top American manager was recently heard stating that
"racing wasn't part of our core competencies, so we brought in contractors
to help us compete in a world wide market/race ".
After many months of deliberation, and the race fast approaching, the new
staff reorganization quickly became . . . four steering managers, three area
steering managers, one staff steering manager and now one project steering
leader to oversee the racing contractors. Plus, of course, the 8 additional
racing contractors who will actually compete in the race, but they don't really
count in Corporate America . . . .
This year, the Japanese won by default, the American racing team sunk three
minutes into the race. A top American manager was overheard stating "I
don't understand, they said we could just plug 'em in, that they could race in
Although it's early in the planning for next year's race, rumor has it the
Americans are buying a new boat that is more compatible with the vendor's system
of racing expertise. A new boat acquisitions manager was hired to work on the