Nuts and Bolts

By Kit Goldman, President of Workplace Training Network, Inc.


Colleen: Newly promoted Facilities Supervisor at a fictional company
Lonnie: A veteran employee on her crew

Scene: Repair shop at the facility. Tools, hardware, schematics scattered on table and floor. Coffee on table, water bottle overturned, liquid on papers. Colleen enters.

C: What the…? (picks items off floor, lifts wet schematic, looks offstage) Lonnie? Lonnie, you here? (dials phone) Janice, I’m in the shop. Lonnie’s not here and it’s a pigsty. What’s his break schedule? Yeah, I’ll hold.

Lonnie enters, looks like he just woke up, startled to see Colleen

L: Hey Colleen (yawns, tucks shirt, rubs eyes)

C: (to phone) Right. OK, thanks. (To him) Taking a little snooze?

L: Who? Me?

C: No, the other guy I’m talking to right now.

L: (Looks puzzled, then laughs) I get it. I was…in the restroom. Did I forget to put another meeting on my calendar? Boy. My memory’s worse than a brain dead mule with a hangover. Sorry about the mess. Been so busy, no time to clean up. I was just getting ready to do that.

C: What’s all this loose hardware?

L: Probably what’s left of my brain (he chuckles, she’s not amused. He examines items) I’ll be darned. I think that’s out of the HVAC in building 3. So that’s where it is! Pete’s guys were going crazy looking for this stuff. Wonder how it got here.

C: Do they still need it?

L: Naw, they replaced it all.

C: It’s not acceptable for the shop to be in this condition. Maintaining order is part of the job description in here. And I’d appreciate your being truthful about where you were just now. The employee rest area’s the only place I didn’t check. Is that where you were?

L: OK, I’m busted. I was starting to clean up and couldn’t keep my eyes open, so I laid down for a few.

C: Are you having health problems, Lonnie?

L: Nope. Just sleepy. A lot. Hey, I didn’t know you were coming in or I would have had the place looking better. It’s just me here most of the time, so what difference does it make?

C: There are several reasons why the shop needs to be kept in order, including safety and the protection of company property – like that hardware Pete needed – and these ruined schematics.

L: New Supervisors are always so gung-ho about that stuff. And you’re a woman, so it’s an even bigger deal. You gals are always bugging us to clean up our act, (mimics) “Lonnie, get your smelly socks off the floor”, ”Put that icky toilet seat down”, “Get those greasy parts off my counter!”

C: Lonnie, I am not your wife or anything even slightly resembling your wife. Your personal habits are frankly irrelevant and of zero interest to me. Professionalism is the issue here. The standards are the same no matter who you are.

L: Hold it! Are you saying I’m unprofessional?

C: I’m saying certain standards of professionalism and performance aren’t being met. Specifically, I’ve just become aware of sub-standard cleaning and maintenance of this work area, lost and damaged company property and the taking of an unauthorized break.

L: Jeez, don’t get so serious. What are you going to do? Fire me? Are you looking for a reason to get rid of me?

C: Getting rid of you is the last thing I would want. Frankly, Lonnie, I see the signs of someone who may be experiencing burn-out, boredom, and possibly some depression over that situation. I get the feeling you might be overdue for some new challenges in your work, some different horizons, maybe a change of scenery.

L: OK, I get it. You want to transfer me out. Some of the red necks around here putting pressure on you?

C: Nothing could be further from the truth. If anyone’s acting like a redneck around here, I want to know about it because it won’t be tolerated. I need you and everyone else on our crew to be committed to working to their full potential – whatever that is for each person. Let’s see if that’s realistic for you or if there’s some other direction you need to go in to rekindle your interest and commitment. What will make you willing to give 100%? That’s the question we need to answer. Success is built on individual effort and achievement. It requires high performing teams in every area of the operation. That level of performance only happens when there’s a sense of accomplishment, of satisfaction, of pride in the work that’s being done. And there needs to be awareness of how each person’s performance directly affects that success.

L: Yeah, well, it’s been a long time since any of that was going on.

C: OK, that’s honest. As a manager, it’s part of my job to help you stay motivated and succeed. If you succeed, I succeed. We’ll decide on a strategy that gives you the best chance for the most success possible in your work. How does that sound?

L: Like it’s straight from a training manual, but that’s OK. Thing is though, I’m way behind on some of my skills. Like the new technology we’re using. I feel like an idiot.

C: OK. Thanks for being honest. We need to look at what training you need to build up your skills and your confidence in yourself.

L: Ever try to negotiate the price of a porterhouse with a pit bull? That’s how I feel right now.

C: I’ll take that as a compliment. Let’s look at the steps we need to take. First thing: clean up the shop.

L: OK.

C: Can you find your calendar in here somewhere?

L: Maybe…(looks through the mess)…yeah, here it is.

C: Let’s meet at 10 a.m. tomorrow to look at your current assignments and decide on any necessary changes. We won’t rule out a transfer. You may decide a new direction appeals to you and if that’s the case, we’ll explore it. If you stay with this group we need to agree on clear objectives and a timetable to achieve them. We’ll lay out how your achievement will be measured and the benefits to you and the group of you reaching your objectives

L: I want to stay with the group.

C: Good. Let’s see if that turns out to be the best course of action. Of immediate importance: the shop must be kept clean and orderly. All materials must be handled and stored properly. Breaks are at authorized times only. If fatigue or anything else prevents you from working when you’re supposed to, you must let me know that and seek treatment. So…Is all that perfectly clear?

L: Yup. (looks at hardware, picks up item) Holy cow. You know what? This is not from building 3 HVAC. It’s the lock assembly for the CEO’s restroom.

C: I think we just found our first priority. I’ll see you at 10 a.m. sharp tomorrow. (exits)

This script is the copyrighted intellectual property of Workplace Training Network, Inc. and may not be used for any purpose without the express written permission of WTN La Mesa CA