Red Team/Green Team
Once upon a time there was a Red
rowing team. This Red team agreed to hold an annual rowing race
with a Green team. Each team would contain 8 men. Both teams
worked really hard to get in the best shape. On the day of the
first race, both teams were ready to win.
The Green team won by 1 mile.
The Red team was crushed in their defeat, but they were determined
to win the race next year. So they established a panel of auditors
to observe the situation and ascertain if there were any
differences between the teams.
After several weeks of detailed intelligence gathering, the
auditors could find only one difference; the Green team had 7
rowers and 1 captain…
…and the Red team had 7 captains and 1 rower!
Un-perplexed by the raw data, upper management showed unexpected
wisdom: they hired a consulting company to analyze the data and
suggest a solution that would enable the Red team to win next
After several months the consultants came to the conclusion that
the ratio of captains to rowers was the problem in the Red team.
Based on this analysis a solution was proposed: the structure of
the Red team has to be changed!
Like sharks getting the scent of reorganization blood, upper
management wasted no time in restructuring the Red team into 4
Captains, led by 2 Managers, reporting to 1 Senior Director with a
dotted line to the rower. Besides that, in a blaze of unrestricted
inspiration, they suggested they might be inclined to improve the
rower’s working environment by a non-monetary reward and
recognition scheme if there was improved performance by the rower.
The next year the Green team won by 2 miles…
The Red team upper management immediately fired the rower based on
his unsatisfactory performance.
A bonus was paid to the Captains, Directors, and Managers for the
strong leadership and motivation they showed during the
preparation phase and as an incentive for them to find a better
rower for the next race.
The consulting company prepared a new analysis of the
restructuring activity, which showed that the strategy was good,
the motivation was great, the restructuring was executed
correctly, but the tool used (which was not included in the
original data) was sub-standard and had to be improved.
Currently the Red team management is having a new boat designed;
and to demonstrate fiscal and HR dexterity for stockholders they
also contracted a placement agency to advertise in other countries
for a new (temporary, non-direct employee) rower.
the PPS version