The Rowing Teams

Submitted By John Ingram


The Coast Guard and the Air Force decided to have a pulling boat race on the Potomac River. Both teams practiced hard and long to reach their peak performance before the race. On the big day, the Coast Guard won by a mile.

Afterwards, the Air Force team became very discouraged and depressed. The officers of the Air Force team decided that the reason for the crushing defeat had to be found. A "Metrics Team" made up of senior officers was formed to investigate and recommend appropriate action. Their conclusion was that the Coast Guard had eight seamen rowing and one officer steering, while the Air Force had one airman rowing and eight officers and NCOs steering.

The senior officers of the Air Force team 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 Coast Guard again next year, the Air Force Chief of Staff made historic and sweeping changes: the rowing team's organizational structure was totally realigned to four steering officers, three area steering superintendents and one assistant superintendent steering NCO. They also implemented a new performance system that would give the one airman rowing the boat greater incentive to work harder. It was called the "Air Force Rowing Team Quality Program" with meetings, dinners, and a three-day pass for the rower. "We must give the rower empowerment and enrichment through this quality program."

The next year the Coast Guard won by two miles. Humiliated, the Air Force leadership gave a letter of reprimand to the rower for poor performance, initiated a $4 billion program for development of a new joint-service pulling boat, blamed the loss on a design defect in the oars and issued career continuation bonuses and leather rowing jackets to the beleaguered steering officers in the hopes they would stay for next year's race.

. . .meanwhile, the Army team is still trying to figure out why the oars keep making divots in the grass . . .




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