“I tell them what to do and all they do is argue,” complained Cheryl.
“How does that sound?” I asked. “Pretend I am running the line. What mistake could I make that needs correction?”
“They always forget to inspect incoming materials for quality. They just dump the parts in the bin. This company hired me to prevent quality errors. It starts by inspecting the incoming plastic parts,” Cheryl explained.
“So, I take a box of incoming plastic parts and I dump them into the bin for assembly, but I don’t check them for quality, first?”
“Exactly,” said Cheryl. “You can’t do that. I personally inspected all the incoming parts from yesterday and now you have them all mixed up. What were you thinking? You will have to pull all the parts out of the bin and re-inspect every one. We have a 20 percent failure rate on finished goods and it’s all your fault.”
“What kind of response do you get?” I queried.
“Oh, they say they never had to inspect parts before I came along, or that they didn’t make the damn parts so it’s not their fault. I can’t seem to get them to take responsibility. They sound like little kids. -I didn’t do it, not my fault.-”
“So, if they sound like little kids, what do you sound like?”
“What do you mean?” Cheryl became quietly curious.
“If they sound like children, do you sound like a parent?”
Cheryl stopped cold. She was ticking the conversation back in her head. “My goodness, I sound like my mother.”
“And when you sound like a critical parent, what kind of response do you invite?” I asked.
“When I sound like a critical parent, I invite them to argue with me?” Cheryl’s question sounded more like an answer.
“So, we have to figure out a way to correct the behavior without inviting an argument.”