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plastic pots that showed its unique bar codes for price scanning and inventory management. This
mistake would mean the team would be charged for emergency repotting costs as well as
discounts offered as compensation for delayed delivery if they did not act quickly.
Richardson called on her team to show up at the greenhouse the next Saturday morning to
help repot plants. She thought it would be a team builder, but it turned into another failure. Torres
and Ruiz arrived early, ready to work. Vega, as usual, was late and came dressed in a business
suit. Hoffman and Peterson never showed up. Richardson’s mood darkened as Vega, Torres, and
Ruiz fell into an easy Spanish banter with the greenhouse employees. Despite her efforts with the
language tapes, she could not understand a word. Her team members seemed to be bonding with
each other, anyway. Richardson smiled ruefully; she never imagined that being promoted to sales
manager would result in her being up to her elbows in dirt on a Saturday.
Richardson heard the phone ringing from the hallway as she made her way back to her office
at three o’clock that afternoon. When she answered, she heard Campbell say, “Oh, you’re there. I
was going to leave you a message to remind you that you need to get your monthly report in on KELLOGG SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT
Purchased by Chris Perronnet (email@example.com) on March 28, 2013 9 GROWING MANAGERS KEL629 Monday. And don’t forget, you need to submit your team’s monthly expense reports on Monday,
too.” More paperwork. Staring at the dirt under her fingernails, Richardson took a deep breath.
“Monday. Right,” was all she had the energy to say. “Is everything all right?” Campbell asked.
“Fine. Everything’s fine,” said Richardson in the most professional tone she could muster. Events Lead To A Crisis
Sales Take a Hit
Sales results were down for the rest of May and June, in part because Colombia had struggled
to get the greenhouse fungus under control and also because the big-box stores seemed to be
heaping more and more demands on all growers, ColorTech included. Richardson was working
twelve-hour days, six and sometimes seven days a week. She felt most of her time was spent
babysitting her team: Hoffman’s sales continued to be strong, but he would not share information
if Richardson did not specifically ask for it; Torres continued to whine about his web-based
customer service project while his sales numbers slid; Vega had a great May, but her June sales
were down 50 percent; Ruiz was starting to test Richardson’s patience with his perky inquiries
about a sales position; and Peterson mostly pouted. Richardson’s team hated paperwork as much
as she did, so she asked Torres to do some of his colleagues’ reports for them in order to meet
their deadlines. Campbell Visit Part 1: A Cryptic Message
Campbell made a visit to the Phoenix office in early June, which Richardson suspected was
to make sure the monthly sales report was going to be done on time. They sat down together to
review the report, and Campbell corrected some of Richardson’s mistakes. It was an uneventful
meeting, and when it was over Campbell left Richardson with the advice: “Keep your eyes on the
prize.” New Customer
At the end of June, Richardson closed a big client. She had met the regional buyer for...
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- Spring '08