Thursday, August 11, 2016


A Japanese company (Toyota) and an American company (General Motors) 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 executives was formed to investigate and recommend appropriate action.

Their conclusion was the Japanese had 8 people paddling and 1 person steering, while the American team had 7 people steering and 2 people paddling.

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 paddling.

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, 2 area steering superintendents and 1 assistant superintendent steering manager.

They also implemented a new performance system that would give the 2 people paddling the boat greater incentive to work harder. It was called the 'Rowing Team Quality First Program,' with meetings, dinners and free pens for the paddlers. There was discussion of getting new paddles, canoes and other equipment, extra vacation days for practices, and performance bonuses for the managers. The pension program was trimmed to 'equal the competition' and some of the resultant savings were channeled into morale boosting programs and teamwork posters.

The next year the Japanese won by two miles.

Humiliated, the American management team laid off one paddler, halted development of a new canoe, sold all the paddles, and cancelled all capital investments for new equipment. The money saved was distributed to the senior executives as bonuses.

The next year, try as he might, the lone designated paddler was unable to even finish the race (having no paddles), so he was laid off for unacceptable performance, all canoe equipment was sold and the next year's racing team was out-sourced to India.

Sadly, the End.

Here's something else to think about: GM 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 year's results:

Toyoto makes 4 billion in profits while GM rack s up 9 billion in losses.

GM folks are still scratching their heads, and collecting bonuses...



Anonymous said...

This reminds me of a local small town big government fiasco from a few years ago. In the small-ish town I live in (about 40k) the local government looked around at the big cities down the road and determined that what was keeping their small town from being in the big leagues was the lack of really first rate buildings and facilities for their schools. So in their infinite wisdom they drew up a wish list of grand design and stuffed it all plus ten percent more into a bond package and set about to tell the voters that anyone who was stupid enough not to vote for this behemoth undoubtedly wanted our city and especially our children to all die. Well election day came and the wizards of smart were so convinced of victory that they even started pre-spending more of their current budget on the belief that they were about to be rolling in excess funds. The day after the election, the smartest people in the room could not believe what had just happened. They were so shocked as a matter of fact that they immediately sanctioned a study by a renowned public policy group to find out why their hopes and dreams had been crushed. A letter to the editor that appeared the day after the public found out about the ten thousand dollars the city was spending to find out why the people chose to vote so wrongly stated a very simple truth; if the wizards of smart wanted to know why their bond package was defeated all they had to do was go down to the local WalMart and ask people why they voted the way they did and they would tell them that 1. The package was much too big for a town this size. 2. That big projects replaced buildings that were not that old and were still in good shape and 3. They had demonstrated with a previous bond package that they had failed to be good stewards of the money they already had. City hall promptly dismissed this suggestion as some uniformed opinion with no experience in civil service. Two things must be said to end this little tale; when the study was completed and presented at a city council meeting, they gave the same answers that the lowly citizen had given but without the 10K price tag. And the second thing was the date, the bond election was defeated in 2007 two years before the real estate and market crash that if this package had passed could well have bankrupted the city. The wizards of smart never did say thank you to the citizens who saved the city for disaster.

MSG Grumpy

virgil xenophon said...

Laffin' on the outside and cryin' on the inside..

HMS Defiant said...

This summer we visited my relatives in Berkeley, CA and I found my sister-in-law not just despondant, but angry. She is fighting a school bond issue for the very first time in her life. Decades of being a reliable vote for school bond issues and she learned just recently that 98% of the last 2 school bonds were completely wasted on frivolous BS instead of on infrastructure. She coudn't be more heartbroken. I had to point out that I told her so decades ago back when LA Unified went ahead with building a $2Billion high school campus on a former toxic waste site.
Then you see the cities in CA with $1 Billion dollar "school bonds" at zero percent for 20 years after which they owe their creditor $4 billion and what do they do with the money? They buy iPads for their current students.
It's enough to make one very angry if one thinks about it.