Monday, January 19, 2015

Management style of Japanese, American and Singaporean Companies Canoe Race story

Management style of Japanese, American and Singaporean Companies canoe race
Inspired by an unknown author and added our own Singapore rendition.

-----original story by unknown author-------
Toyota and Ford decided to have a canoe race on the Missouri River. Both teams practiced long and hard to reach their peak performance before the race. When the race was over, the Japanese team won by a mile.

The American team was very discouraged and depressed. They decided to investigate and find a reason for the crushing defeat. A team made up of senior management was formed to find the problem and recommend appropriate action. The team’s conclusion was: The Japanese team had eight people rowing and one person steering while the American team had eight people steering one person rowing.

Feeling a deeper study was needed, the American management team hired a consulting company for a second opinion, paying them a lot of money. The consulting company advised the Americans that, of course, there were too many people steering and not enough people rowing.

Wanting to prevent another loss to the Japanese, the rowing teams management structure was totally reorganized to: four steering supervisors, three steering area superintendents and one assistant superintendent steering manager. Also, the management team implemented a new performance system that would give the one person rowing the boat greater incentive to work harder. They called this incentive, “The Rowing Team Quality First Program,” with meetings, dinners, and free pens for the rower. They got new paddles, canoes, more equipment, and extra vacation days and bonuses.

The Japanese won the next race by two miles.

Humiliated, the American management team laid off the rower for poor performance, halted the development of a new canoe, sold the paddles, and canceled all capital investments for new equipment. The money saved was distributed to the Senior Executives as bonuses. Also, the next racing team was outsourced to India.


  1. The Singapore's style pretty much the same as Malaysia - we as the white rat :P

    1. But many said that nobody in Malaysia is rowing, most are sleeping :P

  2. Mangement is a power in current time! Nice blog!



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