Once A Consultant….

I drove over to Bentley because the driver’s side wiper is leaving a large patch of untouched windshield. The service manager grabs two mechanics and they’re all over it with new wiper blades (which, understandably, come in a set of two). One engineer hands me a bill for $142. I’m thinking, there’s more than one possible cause here, how do they know this is the solution?

I say, “Just hold off on the bill until we’re sure about solving the problem.” The new blade is installed. I ask them to turn on the wipers. (Digression: Exotic car specialists hate to run wipers on a dry window. The Rolls people showed me how to theoretically turn on the wipers and adjust speeds, but adamantly refused to do so. I had to wait until the car was handed over and I was driving down the road to actually try it.) I insisted they try and, sure enough, a gap was still there.

“It’s not the blade,” I offered.

The lead mechanic scrunched down and pushed the wiper arm. “You’re right, the arm has lost tension. It has to be replaced.” The service manager told me he’d get back to me by the end of the week after ordering the part, the new blades were placed on the car with no charge, and the three of them went on to other work. I drove home with the top down on a (thankfully) sunny day.

These are highly skilled mechanics. But the smarter you are the more tendency you have to “jump to cause” instead of asking, “This is a possible cause, but is it the probable cause, and how to we test and verify it?”

Historically, I’ve done that in discussions and on paper with clients, never moving out of my seat and never getting dirty. Try it, and save yourself some time and effort.

© Alan Weiss 2016

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