DISCUSSION FOURTEEN

There are two pieces to this assignment.

1. First thing to accomplish for this assignment… Please read the following Newsbreak and then comment thoughtfully on it. Remember to relate terms and concepts from Chapter 13, and to apply them to your own experiences.

The Company Canoe Race

A Japanese company and an American company decided to have a canoe race on the Missouri River. Each company’s team practiced long and hard to reach peak performance before the race. On the day of the race, the Japanese company’s team won by a mile.

The American company’s team was crushed; they felt discouraged and depressed. The company’s management prepared a mission statement and made it their goal to uncover the reason for the defeat. A measurement team of senior management personnel was formed. They would investigate and recommend appropriate action.

They found that the Japanese company’s team had eight people rowing and one person steering, whereas their team (the American company) had one person rowing and eight people steering. So the American company hired a consulting firm for an enormous amount of money to advise them. The consulting company concluded that too many people were steering the boat and not enough people were rowing.

To prevent another humiliating loss to the Japanese company’s team the following year, the American company’s rowing team was reorganized. The new management structure included four steering managers, three area-steering superintendents, and one assistant area-steering superintendent liaison. The group then implemented a new performance system intended to give the one person rowing the boat greater incentives to work harder. The system was called the Rowing Team Quality-First Program, designed to give the rower empowerment and job enrichment. The program was kicked off with meetings, dinners, and free pens and T-shirts for the rower.

The next year, the Japanese company’s team won the boat race by two miles. The American company’s management fired the rower for poor performance, halted funds for the development of a new canoe, sold the paddles, and canceled capital investment for new equipment. They gave awards for high performance to the steering managers and distributed the money saved as bonuses to the senior executives.

Source: An Internet legend of unknown source, provided by Marty Salo.

2. What Is A Leader? Follow these directions…
Purpose: The objective of this exercise is to consider what stereotypes or assumptions you have about leaders and what makes leaders effective or ineffective.

Instructions for this part of your post (please include in your posted assignment):

– Write down the first person who comes to mind when you think of the word leader. You may use a pseudonym.

– Write down 10 words you feel describe that person’s leadership.

– Answer the following questions:

1. Do you think most of the examples others will give (or that you have already read before you completed your own posting) are of “good” leaders or “bad” leaders? Explain why this could be.

2. We often forget that leadership is not a formal designation. Can you think of (and describe for us) an example of a person who demonstrated leadership weven when they were not officially a leader?

3. What are some aspects of leadership that you have not yet written about? Why might these qualities be overlooked when we talk about leadership?

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