Company A and Company B decided to have a canoe race on a local river. Both teams practiced hard and long to reach their peak performance before the race.
On the big day, Company A won by a mile.
Afterwards, Company B became very discouraged and depressed. The management of Company B decided that the reason for the crushing defeat had to be found. A “Measurement Team” made up of senior management was formed to investigate and recommend appropriate action.
Their conclusion was that Company A had eight people rowing and one person steering, while Company B had one person rowing and eight people steering.
So, the management of Company B hired a consulting company and paid them incredible amounts of money. They advised that too many people were steering the boat and not enough people rowing.
To prevent losing to Company A again next year, the rowing team’s management structure was totally reorganized to four steering supervisors, three area steering superintendents, and one 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 to the rower. “We must give the rower empowerment and enrichment through this quality program.”
The next year, Company A won by two miles.
Humiliated, the management of Company B laid off the rower for poor performance, halted development of a new canoe, sold the paddles, and cancelled all capital investments in new equipment. Then they used the money saved and gave a High Performance Award to the steering managers, distributing the rest of the money as bonuses to the senior executives.
What did your last corrective action look like?