I learned a long time ago never to ask a guy if he understands or knows something because whether he does or not, he’ll always say, “Yes,” just because he’s a guy. Before I learned this truism, I dispatched 20 men and five trucks one morning at 7:30 am to a customer who’s located nearly one hour north of our base in Duluth, Georgia. I naively asked the drivers if they knew how to get there, and they rolled their eyes and said, “Yes.” (In hindsight, I guess it was a silly question because we had gone to this location at least once a week for the past several years since it was our largest “house account.”)
At 9:30 that morning I got a panic phone call from our supervisor at Rockwell, asking , “Where’s Lucius? We’ve been here since 8:45 and can’t start because the job’s 200 4-wheel dollies are on his truck.” He said that Lucius drove the fifth truck as they “caravanned” (one truck following the other) to the job, and that Lucius got stuck at a red-light while the others got onto I-75 South.
The incident occurred before cellphones—all that we had to communicate with were pagers that went beep, beep, beep and displayed numbers and pay phones. We paged Lucius 10 times with “911” on his display but he didn’t call back until 11 am when he finally got to Rockwell. He explained that by the time he got onto the Interstate, the other four trucks were out of site. While they took I-75 South and I-85 North to Rockwell, he got lost when he stayed on I-75 South. When he reached metro Atlanta’s ‘perimeter highway’ (I-285), he drove all the way around Atlanta until he eventually reached I-85 North, and then headed to Rockwell. In other words, he drove 50 miles out of the way during rush-hour.
In my next post, I’ll tell you how to communicate with men so that you don’t waste oxygen by asking, “Do you understand?”
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