Time Out!

May 22, 2013

corrective-actionI was asked to negotiate a corrective action incident last week for a general contractor.  The problem was that a cement sub-contractor did not meet his contractual obligations and had actually left the job site at noon with his 7 workers without informing the general contractor. In addition, he then asked for a full day’s pay for himself and all his workers.  Straight forward, no problem…we had the facts on our side.

Now, for the rest of the story, I was in Haiti last week with my family on a mission trip providing training and speaking through a translator.  The general contractor, Andrew Jones, was the head of the organization Poverty Resolution that we were serving with. We needed to negotiate the final settlement of pay at the end of the week for the Haitian sub-contractors.  It was Friday and the rest of our team was loaded in the bus ready to head for the airport.  I was asked to help about three quarters through the one and a half hour discussion.  Yes, I again was thankful for my Dale Carnegie Training and our 7R approach to handling mistakes.

Talking in short sentences due to translation issues, we were able to get the sub-contractor to relate to the mistake he had made and to realize if he wanted to continue working on projects for the rest of the summer, it was important that he understand and correct the mistakes he had made.  This direct adult to adult conversation helped him change his perspective.  Once he personally Related to the issue, it was easy to Restore, Reassure, and Retain his services. Everyone was smiling when we got on the bus and headed for the airport about 15 minutes later.

I arrived in the midst of the sub-contractor Resisting, therefore I was able to Restate the problem where the sub-contractor understood the problem. Then I was able to communicate what he did that was wrong and what he would do in the future; he was able to accept a ½ day’s pay for a ½ day of work.

Coaching Point:  In taking corrective action you must get the other person to relate to the mistake they made, clearly identify what they will do to correct the mistake in the future and the consequences if it is done again.

Our family had a great week in Haiti.  I enjoyed speaking through an interpreter in conducting basic leadership training for about 50 individuals from various walks of life.  What made the week so special was that all of our kids were with us helping to serve in various ways.  It was life changing for my wife Colleen and I, our 5 children and son-in-law. The above story is only one of a 1000 incidents I could share, and will in time as other topics emerge.  For now it is great to be home and God Bless the USA!

Human Relations Principle of the Week:

Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.

–        Dale Carnegie

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