It this wasn't so sad, it would ALMOST be funny! It's not!!

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First we bail out the Wall Street crowd instead of putting some of them in prison.  Next,  it was the banks and AIG.  Now,  against most people's wishes,  here we are handing money over to GM and Chrysler.  I guess if you get big enough,  they won't let you fail.  the problem,  as I see it,  is that we are not holding people accountable.  why is it that WalMart is thriving,  while Sears,  JC Penny are dying  (in fact Meryns did die).  The real question is why is no one holding them accountable?  Maybe it is culture or maybe just lack of  inershia. Whatever the reason,  we are in trouble unless we make some radical changes.  Maybe it is best told by this parable:


A Japanese company ( Toyota) and an American company (GM) decided to have a canoe race on the Detroit River in downtown Detroit.  Both teams practiced long and hard to reach their peak performance before the race.On the big day, the Japanese won by a mile.

The American,  were humiliated and decided to investigate the reason for their defeat. A task force was organized,  with cross sections of Senior Managment  from every department with the company.  Their job was to recommend appropriate action to be taken. 

The findings was that the Japanese had 7 people rowing,  with one person steering,  while the American team had 5 people rowing,  2 supervising and 1 steering.  Feeling a deeper study was needed,  the American's hired an outside consulting company, who specialized in Labor Relations.

Still not sure how to win,  but wanting to prevent another loss,  the Americans totally reorganized with 1 area supervisor, 1 motivational coach,  3 rowing supervisiors and 3 rowers.  The Union insisted that the 8th member of the team be left on shore as a Safety Officer.

They also implemented a new performance enhancing system that would give the 4 people rowing greater incentive to work harder. It was called the 'Rowing Team Quality First Program,' with many after-hour (but unpaid) meetings, with balloons, a free pen, badges and company ball cap and tee shirt for the rowers. There was discussion of getting new paddles, canoes and other equipment, extra vacation days for practices and bonuses. Unfortunately,  the "Quality First Program" ate up most of the money, so none of these ideas were pursued. The remaining money was channeled into morale-boosting programs, teamwork posters and an all important,  diversity training. 

At the last minute to be ADA compliant,  they replaced all three of male rowers with one 60 year old (ready to retire),  a 95 pound asian female and one armed gay man. The next year the Japanese won by two miles.

Humiliated, the American management laid off two rowers, halted development of a new canoe, sold all the paddles, and canceled all capital investments for new equipment. The money saved was distributed to the Senior Executives as bonuses. 

The next year, try as he might, the remaining rower was unable to even finish the race (having no paddles,) and was subsequently laid for unacceptable performance.  All remaining canoe equipment was sold at 10 cents on the dollar to Toyota and the next year's racing team was out-sourced to  India.

Here's something else to think about:

* American car sompanies have spent the last thirty years moving all its factories out of the  US, claiming they can't make money paying American wages.
* TOYOTA,  Hyundai, BMW,  Mercedes, NIssan and Honda have spent the last 25 years building more than a two dozen plants inside the  US.

* TOYOTA  made $4 billion in profits while Ford racked up $9 billion in losses during the same period

And, while this is happening,  Auto executives are still scratching their heads, and collecting yearly bonuses. .. and now,  asking for the american taxpayer for  a 'bail-out'... Is there something wrong with this picture .........or does the Emperor have no clothes??  Maybe,  it's me.

Posted by


Guy Berry

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Comments (4)

Donna Harris
Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - - Austin, TX
Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator

Great post. You discuss some great points.

Dec 19, 2008 06:59 AM
Betina Foreman
WJK Realty - Austin, TX
Realtor, C.N.E., with WJK REALTY

I agree with you whole heartedly. The system is broken and needs a major overhaul. I don't see anybody coming to hand me a check because the economy is down and I am actually working mre for less money. So I don't feel the big three deserve this bailout. What they need is a kick in the pants!

Dec 20, 2008 01:58 AM
Joanna Quan
Keller Williams Realty - Alamo, CA
Realtor, SRES, Notary

Yay Toyota.  I just replaced my 12 year old Corolla with a 2009 Corolla.

Jan 09, 2009 03:41 AM
Grace Keng
Keller Williams Realty Cupertino - Cupertino, CA
CRS, CDPE (408) 799-8887

I know we lost a lot of races thru different countries and products. Look at us we realtor drives Mercedes Benz, Lexus and watch Sony TV, our daughters play with China made dolls. Those big companies give away the US manfacture one pieces at the time. I don't what our next or next generations's job titles will be. They can not all work for McDonald,


Jan 26, 2009 06:19 PM