Unformatted text preview: cut-flower market.
ColorTech operated its main U.S. greenhouses in Phoenix, Arizona; San Diego, California;
and Columbia, South Carolina. As a supplement to its own operations, ColorTech leased
greenhouse space in a few other American cities to handle special orders (including plants that
were too delicate to ship long distances) and negotiated distributor agreements with other
greenhouses in some northern states that enabled it to offer region-specific and seasonal plants.
With a large operation in Nogales, Mexico, its Colombian acquisition, and plans to expand into
Ecuador, ColorTech was quickly becoming the largest and most international grower in the
Western Hemisphere. The Phoenix Office
Phoenix was not only the location of ColorTech’s corporate headquarters; it was the site of
the founders’ first greenhouse and, quite literally, was the heart of the company. State-of-the-art
in their day, the Phoenix greenhouses still boasted the highest production levels in the company.
Thirteen employees managed the automated assembly line–like process that produced geraniums,
pansies, and petunias by moving pots on tracks through the greenhouses, starting with seeds and
progressing through various stages of fertilizing, watering, potting, and labeling for customers.
The shipping area was an energizing riot of flowering color and shouted instructions in Spanish
as thousands of color products were packed and shipped to ColorTech customers around the
The six sales staff and the greenhouse administrative workers sat in the company’s original
offices, which were attached to one of the original greenhouses. Located onsite but detached from
the greenhouses, the newer corporate offices had a more formal atmosphere and dress code.
Spanish was the default language in the greenhouses due to the high concentration of laborers
with ancestry in Mexico and Central America, but during meetings in the corporate offices
everyone spoke English, even executives from the Colombia and Mexico operations. In the sales
office, English was spoken publicly, but most people spoke Spanish to communicate one-on-one.
Many of the greenhouse workers cooked their lunches on a portable grill that, at the direction of
management, was kept on the far side of the building complex and out of sight of the parking lots.
Sales staff often shared these outdoor lunches with the greenhouse workers, but corporate staff
did not. Getting There
As she prepared to leave Chicago, Richardson juggled her sales manager training courses
with packing and saying goodbye to longtime clients in the Chicago area. The latter was no small
task, as over the past eight years Richardson had built a substantial client base that had earned her
frequent sales awards. In the middle of a wet April snow shower, however, she hugged her
mother goodbye and drove toward the interstate that would take her west to Arizona.
During the long drive, Richardson had ample time to reflect on the content discussed in her
management training courses. As a salesperson, Richardson had not been exposed to many of the
management issues, paperwork, and processes covered in the classes. Legal issues related to 2 KELLOGG SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT
Purchased by Chris Perronnet ([email protected]) on March 28, 2013 KEL629 GROWING MANAGERS human resources had been stressed repeatedly, but Richardson had little confidence in her
understanding of the...
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