“So, just exactly how far out to lunch were you, when you made that decision?” I asked.
Clarence laughed. It was the first bit of levity around a decision that cost his company $125,000. “I know, I know,” he replied. “It was a pretty bone-headed decision.”
“Seriously, what did you miss?”
“I was so focused on the increased productivity we forecast when this new machine came online, that I forgot to ask some basic questions.”
“I assumed the concrete floor would support the weight of the replacement machine. There were plenty of signs to tell me otherwise, but I didn’t pay attention to the floor because I paid attention to productivity.”
“You’re making this painful. When we pulled the old machine out, there were stress cracks in the concrete underneath. I thought, after 20 years, they were just cosmetic. But, there wasn’t enough steel reinforcement in the pad to hold the weight of the new machine.”
“What did you learn?”
“Before you make a decision, you have to lay out – what is an assumption and what is a fact. I was playing paper, scissors, rock with concrete and steel.”