Apr 22, 2007

Why Does This Sound Familiar?

Hmmm, could we exchange GM in this parable with LANS????
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

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.

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, 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
cancelled 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.

Sadly, The End.
Sad, but oh so true! Here's something else to think about: Ford 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 quarter's results: Toyota makes 4 billion in profits while
Ford racked up 9 billion in losses. Ford folks are still scratching
their heads!

Thanks for the catty post. What has us pondering is why nobody thought of building a Reliable Replacement Canoe?

Pinky and The Brain


Anonymous said...

OK, same story except it's Toyota and DOE. Not employing anyone who knows what a canoe looks like, DOE hires ten support contractors with no previous canoe experience to supervise a program to make and row canoes. They write a program plan and the Fed contracts with a Laboratory filled with Canoe experts. The support contractors advise the Laboratory to build the canoe in a way that no one who has ever built a canoe would build it. Then another part of DOE tells the Laboratory to spend nine out of every ten dollars documenting the compliance of the canoe program with a set of regulations written by yet another part of DOE (one which has never seen a Laboratory or a canoe). At the end, the Laboratory delivers half a canoe (still impressive) and the rowers all drown.

Anonymous said...

maybe toyota could contract to run the labs?

Pinky and The Brain said...


Rules & Regulations

Dear Concrete Canoe Participants:

The Committee on National Concrete Canoe Competitions (CNCCC) is pleased to present the 2007 American Society of Civil Engineers National Concrete Canoe Competition Rules and Regulations. The rules and significant changes to the rules are provided as PDF files and will require Adobe Acrobat to view. You may download a copy of each by clicking on the links below. As you know the rules change from year to year. Though the CNCCC will be available for rules clarifications, it is the responsibility of each team to read and interpret the rules as written.

Anonymous said...

We'll have to keep an eye on how this job re-classification effort goes. If you start seeing more levels and descriptions for management positions than you see for the "rowers"......

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile in ADSMS, Mallory has thrown all the rowing supervisors overboard. He's teasing them by holding an oar out over the water for them to grab onto, but is shocked to see them all swimming for shore instead. And all of the Yarbro-era managers are clinging to their seats, looking fearfully over the edge... while the program office cruises by in their luxury yacht, sipping margaritas and laughing at their own good fortune.

Anonymous said...

I see a different picture. The employees have doctorates in canoeing and get paid more that any paddler in history. The senate canoe panel, once controlled bt a D-Man keeps them employed even though they've never won a race, have no place to paddle and only compete for R&D 100 awards.
Those employees don't actually want to paddle but remain happily compensated, complaining frequently about favoritism, home values, taxes and retirement plans.

Anonymous said...

And the retirement plan isn't as good as it once was and could be, even if some of your money is still at UCRP. See:

Anonymous said...

Interesting. Appears Wilshire Associates is incompetent. If the Regents don't give the money back to the UC Office of Treasurer to manage fairly promptly, say within a year, they are not only incompetent but corrupt.

UCRP money managers had a racing sailboat. Wilshire Associates appear to have nothing more than a concrete canoe that they don't paddle very well.

Anonymous said...

Hey 8:04AM

I also see a different picture. The people in the canoe are pathetic bitter idiots that got fired from a national lab because they are so utterly incompetent. Now the only job they can get rowing a canoe. Instead of just realizing that they are truly worthless and leaving the rest of the world alone they complain that life is unfair and make completely idiotic statements on blogs.

Anonymous said...

Nobody ever gets fired, incompetent or not. And there are still plenty of competent people at all levels of the food chain. Problem is, they're so pre-occupied with bailing out unnecessry paperwork and trying to determine how to meet continuously changing requirements that they can't paddle efficiently.