A Finnish and a Japanese company decided to organize an annual rowing competition with 8-man teams. Both teams trained long and hard. When race day came, both teams thought they were in top shape, but the Japanese won by far in the mile.
After the defeat, a defeatist mood prevailed among the Finns. However, the company’s top management decided that for image reasons they would have to win next year’s race. So they set up a project team to solve the problem. After lengthy analysis, the team found that the Japanese had seven rowers and one coxswain, while the Finns had one rower and seven coxswains.
In this crisis situation, the management showed remarkable ability to act. It was decided to hire consultants to study the composition of their own team. After a few months of work, the experts came to the conclusion that the team had too many coxswains and too few rowers.
On the basis of the report, the company’s management immediately made changes to the team. The team now consisted of four coxswains, two first mates, a team leader and a rower. In addition, a bonus point system was developed to motivate the rower.
We need to broaden his job description and give him more responsibility.”
The following year, the Japanese won the race by two miles. The Finnish team dismissed the rower for poor work performance but still paid a bonus to the management for the effort they showed. For next year, the Finns are now developing a new boat.