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Row boat on shore of Mirror Lake in Lake Placid, New York; Original photo copyright Christine Gonsalves- - - Licensed through iStockphoto.com
Great Corporate Regatta

The Americans and the Japanese were engaged in a competitive boat race. Both teams practiced long and hard to reach their peak performance. On the big day they both felt ready. They were both ready for a close, competitive race.

The Japanese won by a mile.

The Americans took immediate action. They fired the rower.

Yet, despite the action, the American team was discouraged by the loss. Morale sagged. Corporate management decided that they must do something. They hired a consulting firm to investigate the problem and recommended corrective action.

After almost a year of study and millions of dollars the consultants issued their report: The Japanese team had eight people rowing and one person steering; the American team had one person rowing and eight people steering. Clearly the Americans had too many people steering.

The Americans immediately reorganized the team. Like the Japanese there should be only one person steering: the steerer. In addition there should be four steering managers and two area steering managers. And, for the rower they created a brand new performance review system as a work incentive.

The Japanese won by two miles.

The Americans were humiliated. They immediately fired the rower. They gave the managers bonuses for discovering the problem. And, they hired a new HR consultant to help them answer two questions: (1) Why can't they find competent rowers? (2) Why is rower turnover so high?

The consultant's report is due next week.

 

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This page created:
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Wed, 16.Aug.2000

Last updated:
16:17, Sat, 10.May.2014

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