Susan Dresswell is the Sales Manager at Our Company. Sue barely made it through high school and has only a vague notion of the business in which Our Company is engaged. Susan is thirty-two years old, divorced, and the mother of a five year old son. She divorced her husband the day her son was born and exactly zero point six seconds after the epidural wore off. All of her friends were single mothers, after all, and having a smelly old man hanging around the house was cramping her style. Next time she felt like having a kid she was planning on purchasing the necessary sperm on-line or extracting it for free from a member of the Senior Management Team. We are not going to tell you how she was planning on accomplishing the latter task as this is not that kind of instructional manual. You, dear reader, will just have to figure that one out for yourself.
Anyway, Sue will say almost anything to make a sale and do absolutely anything to keep senior management on her side. She is extremely skilled at using her charm and sexuality to their best advantage. As a result, Sue is the most successful salesperson in Our Company’s history and was the only member of the sales organization to survive the recent purge. While Sue reports directly to the General Manager, she is not a member of the executive team (refer back to Our Company Organization Chart).
It was getting close to the end of the month and Sue needed to make the next lease payment on her Lexus SUV. Sales people measure themselves and each other by the cars they drive and Sue’s sales instincts kick into high gear when her ride is at risk. She had a meeting with a potential client this particular morning who looking to purchase sumpthin’ or other. Sue was determined not to let this one get away.
It turns out the customer was looking for an outdoor shed in which to store a few basic garden tools and his lawnmower. He tried Home Boxstore but they didn’t have one in stock that fit into the space between his house and the edge his property where he wanted to put it, which was about six and a half feet wide. He went to Our Company to see how much it would cost to have a garden shed custom made according to his specifications.
Sue matched Home Boxstore’s price for an in-stock garden shed and threw in some windows and ornamental trim in order to clinch the deal. Sue wasn’t worried about getting in trouble for low-balling the bid. Sue was snogging the VP of Finance who was an expert at hiding expenses as R&D and sliding government tax credits her way and reporting it as revenue. Sue looked always looked like a hero.
Frank Moneymaker is the Vice President of Finance. Frank is the senior manager who, you may remember from the previous paragraph, is snogging Susan Dresswell, the Sales Manager.
Like all Vice Presidents of Finance, Frank is a highly valued member of the executive team. Frank is prized for his ability to magically conjure up a profit out of the tail end of disastrous year. Somehow he is able to pull next year’s revenue into the current fiscal year and slide this year’s expenses into another dimension. Frank is truly a wizard with a balance sheet and can transform a horrendous loss into an amazing windfall just by dragging his cursor around the screen. It helped that Our Company’s accounting software was developed in-house and was only marginally compliant with the generally accepted accounting principles. Frank desperately wants the company to go public so he can cash in his chips and move to Aruba before his accounting methods are scrutinized too closely.
All bids were subject to a formal Bid Review in accordance with Our Company’s ISPO-2000 procedures. The Senior Management Team was required to convene and review the price quoted and the delivery date against the engineering estimate to complete the job. The Bid Review Meeting was a mere formality since Sue had already given the customer a firm quotation for the garden shed complete with a sketch (see sketch below), a promised delivery date, and the acceptance criteria. The details were turned over to Donald Dickless, the Vice President of Operations to turn Sue’s promise into a product. And that’s how the Garden Shed Project was born.
That was a Completely True Story, by the way. Of course the salesperson’s name wasn’t Sue and the item sold wasn’t a garden shed, but the fact that a salesperson broke the rules in order to make a sale – and got away with it – has probably happened at least once or twice before.