Carl Duerr, a crate, and a crane
Be in control of your emotions — don't ignore them, or try to suppress them, they're often a better guide than your brain. But stay in control.
American, Carl Duerr was brought into Jensen Motors by the Norcros Group in January 1968 as a Consultant Managing Director. Here is one of his stories, told in his own words, of his time at Jensen Motors Limited.
Canadians must be up to here in plywood and nails. The Chrysler engines that used to arrive at Jensens, six to a crate, were packed in Canada, encased completely in excellent grade, extremely strong, plywood. And nailed at one inch intervals with literally thousands of spiral nails over two inches long. Opening them, therefore, was somewhat of a problem.
On one of my regular tours of the plant one day, I stopped in the receiving bay to watch one of our blokes flailing away with a hammer against the end of a crowbar, trying to get under the head of one nail. Doing it nail-by-nail like that promised to be a good eight-hour day's work. I watched about as long as I thought I ought to stand and watch a thing like that, then I strode down to the end of the bay and grabbed the dangling control box of the overhead crane.
I'd never used the thing before in my life. This character was watching every move I made and a small crowd began to gather so I prayed I wouldn't hit any wrong buttons. But it worked out OK. I ran the crane down the bay, lowering the hook simultaneously and acting quite ferocious. Walking over to the guy working on the crate, I grabbed his crowbar and, saying not a word, bashed two holes in the plywood on top of the crate; praying this time that I wasn't bashing in any rocker covers while I was doing it. Then I slipped the chain from the crane down through one and up through the other.
I threw the chain over the crane hook, and just ran it straight up. There was a terrific screech you could hear from one end of the works to the other, as all the nails tore loose at once, the wood splintering and cracking, and the nails flying like machine-gun bullets all over the place. Everybody was ducking, and I was praying again, this time that no one got a nail through some painful part of his anatomy, and decided to sue the company.
But within two seconds the lid dangled in the air, and the six engines inside were all exposed to view. So I just left the crane where it was and stalked off, fighting like hell to keep a stern face.
From then on, every time I heard a screeching from the loading bay I used to laugh my head off, imagining everybody ducking and the nails flying every which way, and the guy saying: 'The gaffer does it this way, that's the way we're going to do it.'
Lead loading at Kelvin Way.
I hadn't bawled the guy out, in fact I hadn't said a word to him. And I hadn't really been angry. But my face had been red, I'd snatched the crowbar away, I'd stormed off to the crane, and stalked away afterwards. He and everybody else watching sure thought I was mad. The incident stuck in their memories and things tended to happen faster after that.
Of course he didn't have the foggiest idea what I was doing till the last minute. I suspect that what was actually going through his mind as I slipped the chain through the holes I'd made was: 'The gaffer's crazy. He'll never lift that crate like that. All he's going to do is rip the ruddy lid off!'