Cheryl was waiting in the conference room when I arrived. I could see that her meeting had some unexpected twists.
“I felt like I had been fed to the wolves,” she started. “You were right, they said the problems with the finished goods were my problems. They said that I was responsible for the 2 percent increase in failure rate.”
I nodded. “So, how did your stomach feel?”
Cheryl looked genuinely pissed, but maintained her composure. “It was upside down. You could have cut the tension with a knife.”
“That’s good,” I said. “When your stomach is upside down, you are almost always talking about a real issue that needs to be out on the table.” Cheryl may have been looking for sympathy. “So, what did you say?”
“I practiced that stupid speech we talked about, so that is what I said. I told them that I needed their help. It felt strange. I didn’t like it. I felt like I was leaving my reputation totally in their hands. I felt like I was losing control.”
“And how did they respond?” I asked. “Did they argue with you?”
“Well, no,” Cheryl replied. “They were mostly silent. Then Hector pulled one of the parts from the reject pile. He pointed out a burr that was in the same place on every part. Sammy spoke up and said they had run short on that same part the week before. Get this. Because they were short, they used the rejected parts to finish the batch.
“They said they would have asked me what to do, but that I had been yelling at them, so they all kept quiet.” Cheryl stopped.
“It was a tough session?”
“It seems I was the problem. Yes, it was a tough session.”