Recently, I reposted (shared) an American management humor piece on Facebook. What amazed me was not that it was funny–it was. What amazed me was the number of reposts I got on my repost! Apparently a lot of people identify with this story, and bizarre ways our so-called industry leaders behave.
Here’s the story:
The American and the Japanese corporate offices for a large multi-national corporation 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 team 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 steering.
After a year of study and millions spent analyzing the problem, the 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 office laid-off the rower for poor performance and gave the managers a bonus for discovering the problem.
Funny? I’m interested to hear your comments. Please tell us any funny (but pointed) management stories you’ve heard lately!
And as always, thanks for reading.