An Overlooked Affront

Everybody has focused on the fact that the new CEO of Yahoo! has ended telecommuting in the company, another soul-crusher occurred at Harley-Davidson: they banned rock and roll music:

Hundreds of Harley-Davidson employees learned through a memo last week that their radios and music being piped onto the factory floor would be kaput by Wednesday — part of a continuous effort to improve safety.

No headphones. No headbanging. No rock ‘;n’ roll.

Just the sound of motorcycles being made. It’s the sweet sound of productivity for a Fortune 500 firm whose earnings have made a comeback since an organization-wide restructuring began in 2009.

But it wasn’t one incident in particular that made them “stop the music,” as singer Rihanna says.

“It’s a distraction,” said Maripat Blankenheim, director of external communications for Harley. “It’s really important for people – no matter what they do – to be focused on what they do.”

The memo, authored by John Dansby II, vice president for manufacturing, reflects that mantra.

“As you are aware, it is imperative that we improve our safety and first-time quality performance,” he writes. “Too many distractions and potential hazards still exist in the workplace that impact our performance every day.”

Jeez, Louise, what will people at Yahoo! do if they cannot blare AC/DC while they test?

You know, when I worked in a plant, we didn’t get radios, and I had to compensate by tacking up a poem to memorize while the Didde-Glaser ran. That experience pacing and talking to myself provided me with valuable experience I apply to QA every day.

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