Did Dale Carnegie Write the Original RFI?

Are you a Worrier? Me too!

Written by Annie Kendrick, Kendrick Business Services, LLC

Leave it to Dale Carnegie, the author of “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” to give sound advice in another one of his books “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.” If you have read any of his books, then you already know that for the most part, his advice is timeless. The latter book was published in 1944, during World War II and at the tail end of the Great Depression, which means he must have been considering the struggles that most people were going through at the time. I read this book while I was on vacation recently because I am one of those people that worry if I don’t have enough business and then I worry if I have too much! I am not sure if I will ever worry less because I think a big part of it is genetic and I have the “worry gene.” But I did get something out of this book that I think can help all of us in many business situations, especially construction.  Do you have employees, co-workers, sub-contractors, project managers and GC’s running to you with every little problem and the Chicken Little “sky is falling” syndrome? Does this cause chaos and headaches in the workplace and on job sites costing you extra time and money getting these issues resolved?  Do you find yourself doing this as well sometimes? Then follow Dale’s suggestion by having you and your team answer these 4 simple questions before making a commotion.

  • (1) What is the problem?
  • (2) What is the cause of the problem?
  • (3) What are all the solutions to the problem?
  • (4) What solution do you suggest?

This is significant because it starts the discussion with solutions that have been given consideration instead of problems that may have been blown out of proportion and “having tempers flare as people yell out solutions that haven’t been given proper consideration.”  As Dale concludes, when his associates were asked to write down the answers to these four questions before coming to him, they rarely came to him anymore because they had to “get the facts and think the problems through” and once this was done, “the proper solution has popped like a piece of bread popping out from an electric toaster” (they had toasters back then?) because it “proceeds along an orderly, logical path to a reasoned conclusion.”

My conclusion is that I think Dale Carnegie invented the RFI and that using the RFI model in all aspects of our business, not just on the job site, is good advice. Except for he needed to add one more question.

  • (5) How much is it going to cost?