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A Tale of Two Companies – Entry in The Hall of Shame

I received this email today and decided to share it with my readers. You are welcome to draw your own opinions:

A Japanese company ( Toyota ) and an American company (Ford) 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.

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

Not sure of how to utilize that information, but wanting 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 one 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 equipment. The money saved was distributed to the senior executives as bonuses and the next year’s racing team was out-sourced to India .

The End.

Here’s something else to think about: Ford has spent the last thirty years moving all its factories out of the US, claiming  they can’t make money paying American wages.

TOYOTA has spent the last thirty years building  more than a dozen plants inside the US . The last quarter’s results: TOYOTA makes 4 billion in profits while Ford racked up 9 billion in losses.

Ford folks are still scratching their heads.

IF THIS WEREN’T TRUE, IT MIGHT BE FUNNY !

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The real question becomes, however, what are we going to do about how our companies perform going forward?

Melissa G Wilson

Melissa has been a leader in the book writing, publishing and marketing arena for the past two decades. To date, she has helped more than 100 thought leaders write, publish and market their books. Her clients include executives such as Dan Weinfurter a seven-time Inc 500 winner and Orlando Ashford, President of Holland Cruise Lines.

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