The Twists in the Tale
The corporate boat race
An American automobile company and a Japanese auto company decided to have a competitive boat race on the Detroit River. Both teams practiced hard and long to reach their peak performance. On the big day, they were as ready as they could be.
The Japanese team won by a mile.
Afterwards, the American team became discouraged by the loss and their morale sagged. Corporate management decided that the reason for the crushing defeat had to be found. A Continuous Measurable Improvement Team of "Executives" was set up to investigate the problem and to recommend appropriate corrective action.
Their conclusion: The problem was that the Japanese team had 8 people rowing and 1 person steering, whereas the American team had 1 person rowing and 8 people steering. The American Corporate Steering Committee immediately hired a consulting firm to do a study on the management structure.
After some time and billions of dollars, the consulting firm concluded that "too many people were steering and not enough rowing." To prevent losing to the Japanese again next year, the management structure was changed to "4 Steering Managers, 3 Area Steering Managers, and 1 Staff Steering Manager" and a new performance system for the person rowing the boat to give more incentive to work harder and become a six sigma performer. "We must give him empowerment and enrichment." That ought to do it.
The next year the Japanese team won by two miles.
The American Corporation laid off the rower for poor performance, sold all of the paddles, cancelled all capital investments for new equipment, halted development of a new canoe, awarded high performance awards to the consulting firm, and distributed the money saved as bonuses to the senior executives.
Daughter in college
Did you hear about the banker who was recently arrested for embezzling $100,000 to pay for his daughter's college education?
As the policeman, who also had a daughter in college, was leading him away in handcuffs, he said to the banker, "I have just one question for you. Where were you going to get the rest of the money?"
The boss tells some jokes
The boss returned from lunch in a good mood and called the whole staff in to listen to a couple of jokes he had picked up. Everybody, but one girl laughed uproariously.
"What's the matter?" grumbled the boss. "Haven't you got a sense of humour?"
"I don't have to laugh," she replied. "I'm leaving Friday."
Lost in a balloon
Two hobbyists get into their balloon for an excursion. After a while, the wind unexpectedly picks up, and the balloon goes out of control. The two balloonists, with great effort, manage to keep the balloon stable, upright, and away from power lines. But they are lost. With more effort, they get the balloon near the ground. While floating over a country road, they see a man walking below. One of the balloonists calls down to him:
"We're lost! Can you tell us where we are?"
The man thinks for a while, looks down, looks up, looks down again, stares into space for a minute, and then cries out:
"You're in a balloon!"
The wind picks up, and the balloon floats off. After a moment, one balloonist says to the other:
"That man must be a manager."
"Three reasons. First, he took a long time to answer. Second, he was perfectly correct. Third, his answer was perfectly useless!"
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