The Coast Guard Management and the Lighthouse Keepers decided to engage in a boat race. Both teams practised hard and long to reach their peak performance levels. On the big day they felt ready. The Lighthouse Keepers won by a mile!
The Management team was discouraged by the loss. Morale sagged. Coast Guard management decided that the reason for the crushing defeat had to be found, so a consulting firm was hired to investigate the problem and recommend corrective action.
The consultant’s finding: The Lighthouse Keepers team had eight people rowing and one person steering; the Management team had one person rowing and eight people steering.
After a year of study and millions spent analysing the problem, the consultant firm concluded that too many people were steering and not enough were rowing on the Management team. So as race day neared again the following year, the Management team’s management structure was completely reorganized.
The new structure: four steering managers, three area steering managers, and a new performance review system for the person rowing the boat to provide work incentive.
The next year, the Lighthouse Keepers won by TWO miles!
Humiliated, Management laid off the rower for poor performance and gave the managers a bonus for discovering the problem.