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A Grim Fairy Tale (B. Gabriel Helou)
North Star BBS
(chuckle, business, autos)

I don't know where it originated, but I've seen this around the office
lately.  It made me chuckle; it made me sigh.

                             A Grim Fairy Tale
Once upon a time, an American automobile company and a Japanese auto 
company decided to have a competitive boat race on the Detroit River.  
Both teams practiced hard and long to reach their peak performance.  On 
the big day, they were as ready as they could be.  

The Japanese team won by a mile.

Afterwards, the American team became discouraged by the loss and their 
moral sagged.  Corporate management decided that the reason for the 
crushing defeat had to be found.  A Continuous Measurable Improvement 
Team of "Executives" was set up to investigate the problem and to 
recommend appropriate corrective action.  

Their conclusion:  The problem was that the Japanese team had 8 people 
rowing and 1 person steering, whereas the American team had 1 person 
rowing and 8 people steering.  The American Corporate Steering Committee 
immediately hired a consulting firm to do a study on the management 

After some time and billions 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 management structure was 
changed to "4 Steering Managers, 3 Area Steering Managers, and 1 Staff 
Steering Manager" and a new performance system for the person rowing the 
boat to give more incentive to work harder and become a six sigma 
performer.  "We must give him empowerment and enrichment."  That ought 
to do it.

The next year the Japanese team won by two miles.

The American Corporation laid off the rower for poor performance, sold 
all of the paddles, cancelled all capital investments for new equipment, 
halted development of a new canoe, awarded high performance awards to 
the consulting firm, and distributed the money saved as bonuses to the 
senior executives.

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(From the "Rest" of RHF)

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