Worker B’s

Today we had some granite counter tops installed in our kitchen. Two guys from Solid Surface Designs showed up to install this beautiful black/green rock from Brazil, called Uba Tuba. I saw the marvelous color and variations in the rock and I said, “Wow! Go God!” Yes, it was a sacred moment.

Brad and Brian referred to themselves as the worker B’s. These two guys are amazing. Brad has been installing granite for 14 years. Brian on the other hand is fairly new to the trade. I watched them move a 500 pound of rock from the truck, up five steps, and carefully laid it on the cabinets. They constantly talked to one another. The older, experienced installer told the younger how they were going to move it, step by step. “Will you need to stop?” Brian replied, “No, let’s go all the way.” Brad asked Brian if he was ready and then “3, 2, 1” they slid the granite down the truck. Again, “3, 2, 1” and they slid it another 3 feet. “Three, two, one” and the two picked up the slab and carefully walked toward the house. “How are you doing?” “Piece of cake.” Brad said, “In two feet you’ve got two steps.” Another 3 feet and he said, “You’ve got three more steps.” “Are you okay?” If one of them stumbled, if they were unable to lift it properly, both could have been injured and the single piece of rock would be broken and worthless. Just watching them carry the heavy granite 90 feet made my back hurt. This was one job I’m glad we outsourced.

The Worker B’s laid the granite on the cabinet and then slid it several inches until it rested against the wall. It took brute strength. Miscommunication meant one of them could lose a finger when the rock was pushed against an immovable wall or cabinet. Rock is unforgiving. These two colleagues and friends looked out for one another.

This experience was a great reminder to me that whether it’s a team of 2 or a team of 20, effectiveness and success require constant communication. A word misspoken or misunderstood can sometimes cause irreparable damage to a marriage, a family member, a friendship, a work relationship, or an organization.

Like me, you probably have witnessed a lack of communication in an organization. There is a classic line in the movie, “Cool Hand Luke, ” where one of the prison officials says, “What we have here is failure to communicate.” I’m convinced that one of the things that set great companies apart from average companies is the effectiveness of their communication. Poor leaders withhold information. They fear that if they give information away they lose their power. They want to control it. They hoard it.

Great organizations and great leaders are great communicators. They let people know what they are doing, why they are doing it, and when the action will occur. They communicate constantly. Effective leaders give information away. They seek information. They want to know the truth. They desire feedback from others on how they are doing. Only by knowing what is going on can you improve your organization and your relationships. Communication saves.


2 responses to “Worker B’s

  1. Lack of communication usually gets me in trouble! I strive all the time to get better at it try and practice it at work all the time. On the other hand my wife says i am a bad communicator. Don’t know what she means. LOL. I agree with your article and com is so important. Thanks


  2. Carole Eldridge

    This is so true: “A word misspoken or misunderstood can sometimes cause irreparable damage to a marriage, a family member, a friendship, a work relationship, or an organization.” I could write a dozen stories about this sentence alone–situations where a single word that was left out, should have been left out, or that was misunderstood caused hurt feelings, broken relationships, financial error, or even a grievous medical error. In my business, nursing, miscommunication causes life-altering mistakes and even death. I have learned to greatly admire the kind of teamwork you describe, and to see that it is essential for progress, service, productivity, and good relationships. When we are only communicating with ourselves (listening only to our own thoughts, or, as one friend put it, speaking and listening only from one side of the brain to the other), we miss the richness that comes from teamwork–and we make grievous errors in our thinking and in our lives. Great story!

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