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American Management

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American Management System At Its Best

A Japanese company and an American company decided to have a canoe race on
the Missouri River. Both teams practiced long and hard to reach their peak
performance before the race. On the big day, the Japanese won by a mile. The
Americans, very discouraged and depressed, decided to
investigate the reason for the crushing defeat.

A management team made up of senior management was formed to investigate
and recommend appropriate action. Their conclusion was the Japanese had 8
people rowing and 1 person steering, while the American team had 8 people
steering and 1 person rowing.

So American management hired a consulting company and paid them a large
amount of money for a second opinion. They
advised that too many people were steering the boat, while not enough
people were rowing.

To prevent another loss to the Japanese, the rowing team's management
structure was totally reorganized to 4 steering supervisors, 3 area steering
superintendents and 1 assistant superintendent steering manager.

They also implemented a new performance system that would give the 1
person rowing the boat greater incentive to
work harder. It was called the "Rowing Team Quality First Program", with
meetings, dinners and free pens for the rower.

There was discussion of getting new paddles, canoes and other equipment,
extra vacation days for practices and bonuses.

The next year the Japanese won by two miles. Humiliated, the American
management laid off the rower for poor performance, halted development of a
new canoe, sold the paddles, and canceled all capital investments for new

The money saved was distributed to the Senior Executives as bonuses and
the next year's racing team was outsourced to India.

And that is the way it is.

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