This week’s Storytime brought to you by The Auto Bailout

This one’s for Tom in Michigan: A well-intentioned sort of chap who has much emotional investment in the success of Detroit’s Tres Grande. Perhaps this little tale will help us all see that it’s not only the UAW, savage financial institutions and foolhearty congressmen that are to blame.

What follows is copied from somewhere. If you know the original link/author, please forward here for citation.

A Japanese company and an American company – let’s call them Toyota and GM – 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.

Unsure 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 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 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.

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