A couple of years ago a well-known Government Department (won’t mention any names – they might check on my tax situation) entered a crew into the Dragon Boat Races in Auckland. The first race was against a Japanese crew and despite months and months of training on Lake Pupuke, they lost to the Japanese crew by the proverbial mile.
Discouraged by the huge loss, and with morale in tatters, senior government officials decided that the reason for the crushing defeat must be found and rectified. A project team was set up to investigate the problem and to recommend appropriate action.
Several months later the project team conjured up a conclusion from the muddy waters of despair. The problem was – they said – obvious. The Japanese team had eight people rowing and one person steering. The government crew had one person rowing – and eight people steering.
So they hired consultants to do a study of the crew structure.
Two million dollars and six months later they released their report. In essence, the report said too many people were steering and not enough were paddling.
So, to prevent another embarrassing loss the next year, the crew was restructured …… to one Chief Executive Steering Officer, three Senior Management Steering Officers, and four Steering Managers. A new quality performance system was set up for the paddler and an incentive programme put into place to make him a part of the team, and a key performer.
The next year the Japanese team won by two proverbial miles.
This time the senior government officials took decisive action.
The paddler was made redundant due to his ineffectual performance – the consultants received awards for excellence in restructuring, and all assets were sold with the proceeds being split between the senior government officials.