A light-hearted fable highlighting the effect of different management styles


Your crew/team

One day, the Boards of two fiercely competitive companies decided to organise a rowing match to challenge each other's organisational and sporting abilities.

The first company mentality was strongly 'Theory X': ruthless, autocratic, clear instruction, zero staff empowerment, etc.

The second company was more 'Theory Y': a culture of developing people, devolved responsibility, engagement, interaction and decision-making.

Lots of practice and hard-work was put in, to make sure each team was at it's best on the day.

Race day arrived.

The Theory Y company boat appeared from the boat-house first, with its crew: eight rowers and a helmsman (the cox)....the chat between them was confident, supportive and motivational.

Next followed the Theory X company boat and its crew - eight helmsmen and a single rower....the chat between this team was also confident, with numerous orders and expectations being bellowed, to provide clarity as to what was expected.

Well the Theory Y company boat romped to an easy victory!

Being the proactive bunch they were, the next day the X company board of directors held an inquest with the crew, to review what had been learned from the embarrassing defeat, which might be of benefit to the organisation as a whole, and any future re-match.

After a long and wearing meeting the X company board finally realised their error and came to their decision.

They concluded that their rower should be replaced immediately because clearly he had not listened well enough to the instructions he'd been given.

#leanquotes #leadership

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