Tag: Management

The consultant and the shepherd

Once upon a time there was a shepherd looking after his sheep on the edge of a deserted road. Suddenly a brand new Jeep Cherokee screeches to a halt next to him.

The driver, a young man dressed in a Brioni suit, Cerrutti shoes, Ray-Ban glasses, and a YSL tie gets out and asks the sheperd – If I guess how many sheep you do have, you give me one of them?

The shepherd looks at the young man, then looks at the sheep which graze and says:
– All right.

The young man parks the car, connects the notebook and the mobile, enters a NASA site, scans the ground using his GPS, opens a data base and 60 Excel tables filled with algorithms, then prints a 150-pages
report on his high-tech mini-printer. He then turns to the shepherd and says:
– You have excactly 1586 sheep here.

The shepherd answers:
– That´s correct, you can have your sheep.

The young man takes the sheep and puts in the back of his jeep. The shepherd looks at him and asks:
– If I guess your profession, will you return my sheep to me?

The young man answers:
– Yes, why not.

The shepherd says:
– You are a consultant!

– How did you know?, asks the young man.

– Very simple, answers the shepherd.
– First, you come here without being called. Second, you charge me a sheep to tell me something I already knew. Third, you do not understand anything about what I do, because you took my dog!

The Canoe Race

A Japanese Company and a California Company decided to have a canoe race on the Columbia River. Both teams practiced hard and long to reach their peak performance before the race.

On the big day, the Japanese won by a mile. Afterwards, the California team became very discouraged and depressed. The management of the California company decided that the reason for the crushing defeat had to be found. A “Measurement Team” made up of senior management was formed to investigate and recommend appropriate action.

Their conclusion was that the Japanese had 8 people rowing and 1 person steering, while the Californians had 1 person rowing and 8 people steering. The Management of the California company hired a consulting company and paid them incredible amounts of money. They advised that too many people were steering the boat and not enough people were rowing. To prevent losing to the Japanese again next year, 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. “We must give the rower empowerment and enrichment through this quality program.”

The next year the Japanese won by 2 miles. Humiliated, the management of the California company laid off the rower for poor performance, halted development of a new canoe, sold the paddles and canceled all capital investments for new equipment.

Then they used the money saved by giving a High Performance Award to the steering managers and distributed the rest of the money as bonuses to the senior executives.

MBA versus common sense

An American businessman was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them. The Mexican replied only a little while. The American then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish? The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs. The American then asked, but what do you do with the rest of your time? The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos, I have a full and busy life, senor.”

The American scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds buy a bigger boat with the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually NYC where you will run your expanding enterprise.”

The Mexican fisherman asked, “But senor, how long will this all take?” To which the American replied, “15-20 years.” “But what then, senor?” The American laughed and said that’s the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions. “Millions, senor? Then what?” The American said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”