PADDLE YOUR OWN CANNOE
Once upon a time, a British company and a Japanese company decided to have a competitive boat race on the river Thames. Both teams practised long and hard to reach their peak performance. On the day they were as ready as they could be. The Japanese won by a mile.
Afterwards the British team became very discouraged by the loss and morale sagged. Senior Management decided that the reason for the crushing defeat had to be found. A project team was set up to investigate the problem and recommend appropriate action.
Their conclusion: The problem was that the Japanese team had eight people rowing and one person steering. The British team had one person rowing and eight people steering.
Senior Management immediately hired a consultancy company to do a study on the team structure. Millions of pounds and several months later, the consultancy company concluded that too many people were steering and not enough rowing.
To prevent loss to the Japanese the following year, the team structure was changed to, four Steering Managers, three Senior Steering Managers, and one Executive Steering Manager. A new performance system was set up for the person rowing the boat, to give more incentive to work harder and become a KEY Performer. We must give him power and enrichment. That ought to do it.
The next year the Japanese won by two miles.
The British company, laid off the rower for poor performance, sold off all the paddles, cancelled all investment for new equipment, halted development on a new canoe, then awarded high performance awards to the consultants and distributed the money saved to Senior Executives.