Back July 22, 2015

Racing to fix things

If you ask me, I’d say most mistakes happen because people are in a hurry or being pressured to get a job done fast. Instead of fully focusing on the job, they’ll be distracted by their worries about not getting it done on time. They may panic and fear reprisals. It’s worse if someone is impatiently waiting, and worse still if this someone is on the management board.

One of our mechanics was called to the parking lot and learned that he had to fasten a wheel lug nut to the CEO’s BMW 7-series in a hurry. It would have been good if he had known that beforehand because he didn’t have his toolbox with him. The CEO was already standing next to his car and waiting. He said, “Time is precious,” and tapped his foot. His driver tried to calm him and said, “It will be done in five minutes.” The CEO said, “Yesterday. It should have been done yesterday.”

Our mechanic jumped into his van, raced to the workshop, grabbed what he needed, raced back, and parked behind the BMW. Then he jumped out of his van and forgot to pull the handbrake. He had barely opened his toolbox when they all heard the sound of metal on metal.

It’s hard to say whose fault it was, but if you want to get things done promptly and reliably, it’s not smart to rush or to intimidate the people who have to do them.