CHRONICLES describe how a rowing contest which took place in 1994 between the LSE MBA School team and that of a 3rd ranking provincial college. The university team’s oarsmen took off to a brilliant start and reached the finish line an hour ahead of the LSE team. Once they had returned to their hallowed halls, a Consultation Committee was formed to analyse the underlying reasons for this unexpected and disconcerting result. The Committee drew the following conclusions:
1. The university team comprised one coxswain and ten oarsmen.
2. The LSE team was, on the other hand, composed of an oarsman and ten coxswains. Following a detailed assessment and thorough debriefing, both accompanied by enhanced communication and a new cross-section appraisal, the decision was referred to the strategic planning sphere for the following year, with recommendation for reform of which the repercussions were to affect all levels of the delegation.
In 1995, at the starter’s gun, the university team immediately shot to an enormous lead. This time, the LSE team reached the finish line two hours late.
The new Consulting committee handed down the following conclusions:
1. The university team was composed of one coxswain and ten oarsmen.
2. The LSE team, in line with the reforms decided by the Consultation Committee and approved by the High Planning sphere, was composed of:
3. * One coxswain
* Two assistant coxswains
* Seven division heads
* One oarsman.
The Committe’s conclusion was unanimous and lapidary. « The oarsman is no good at all. »
In 1996 a fresh opportunity presented itself to the LSE team. This time, the Department of Higher Management at the LSE, in collaboration with the Department of Research on Human Resources of the same school had been able to put together an innovative strategy which was, without a doubt, bound to improve yield and productivity, thanks to substantial modifications in the team’s structure.
This was seen as the key to success, the ultimate outcome of a methodology sure to turn the world’s best managers positively green with envy. A catastrophic result was achieved. This time the university team arrived 3 hours before the MBA team. The conclusions were terrifying.
1. In an undisguised though clearly speculative attempt at destabilising their opponent, the university team had decided to adopt the traditional composition: one coxswain and ten oarsmen.
2. The LSE team presented an avant-garde composition:
• One coxswain
• Two quality consultants
• One empowerment auditor
• One downsizing supervisor
• One technology specialist
• One controller
• One division head
• One chronometer technician
• One oarsman.
There were exhaustive meetings and numerous brainstorming sessions, following which the Committee bravely decided to punish the oarsman by withdrawing his study grant and removing him from the school of which the eminence and reputation risked disrepute due to such appalling incompetence.
At the final session, the Committee, backed by the lecturers, pronounced itself.
For the next challenge, we will engage a new oarsman, but this time through an outsourcing contract via selected immigration, so as to avoid all friction with the students’ unions and dodge a work contract and associated social contributions, elements which, without doubt, have until now prevented efficiency and the maximising the productivity of our resources.