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20Jan94 UK: JACKERS JOURNAL - FABLE OF TWO WELL-KNOWN COMPANIES.

I have had a rather scurrilous morality tale sent to me from an anonymous source. The fable concerns two well-known companies - one English, one Scottish - and discretion suggests that they ought to remain anonymous.The companies decide to enter a boat race against each other. Both practise hard, but on the day the Scots win by a mile.The English losers appoint a project team to investigate what went wrong. They pinpoint the problem - the winners had eight people rowing and one steering while their team was made up of eight people steering with only one rowing.A management consultant is appointed who in return for a fee of £1 million breaks the dismal news to the English team that it needs more rowers.The next year the English change the composition of their team to four steering managers, three senior steering managers and one executive steering manager who is given a new set of oars and a performance appraisal system as an incentive to work harder.The next year the Scottish team win by two miles.This time the English responded by laying off the rower for poor performance, selling off the paddles, cancelling all capital investment in new equipment, making a performance award to the consultants and distributing the money saved to senior managers.So who are the two companies? Well, you wouldn't expect me to name them, would you? But if I say that neither would have much difficulty lifting their boats in and out of the water, you might get some clue. CONSTRUCTION NEWS