Local Manahao news, Philippines
Case 7: Partnership
R: Hey Jonas, how you doing?
J: Pretty good.
R: I’m so glad you came.
J: Oh yeah, no problem.
R: You know I called you three times today. You know I was a little nervous.
J: Oh yeah, well understandably too, but you know I’m happy to be here.
R: I’m glad. Listen, we have to talk. We are coming into an untenable and uncomfortable situation.
J: I know that I haven’t been handling my end all the time, but…
R: What can I do to help you?
J: I don’t need any help really. I think that everything as it is is OK. I just need to; you know how everything at home is quite busy for me.
R: You have missed several meetings; you didn’t show up when we had our accounting manager come. Please, this is hard for me. Confrontation is one of the hardest things on the planet, especially with you.
J: I don’t really see this as confrontation. I’m sorry if I missed that meeting. I am. I just had my own things to do.
R: But to just not show up?
J: I felt comfortable that you were there. I felt comfortable that you could handle it.
R: That’s great except you never told me you weren’t coming. Plus you missed the payroll – twice.
J: I talked to everybody about it and I was able to alleviate their concerns, they know they are going to get paid.
J: Because I they know they are getting paid and I missed the deadline, and I apologized to all of them and we worked it out. I’m fine, they’re fine and it won’t happen again. I just feel that I can get all the work done; it just may not be as structured as we are talking about. I think it will all get done anyway.
R: I’m afraid that is not true Jonas. Because all getting done means I’m doing it. And I can’t handle anymore. I am totally stressed out here, and what I’m not getting from you is any sense of caring either for me or for the business. I don’t see you making any kind of commitment.
J: Well I am doing the books; I am taking care of the payroll; I am taking care of the shipments in the bookstore; I am doing all that stuff. It’s not like, you are starting to make it sound like I’m just sitting here not doing anything. I’m handling a lot of the work and I know you’re handling a lot of it
R: You are, but I’m handling everything that you are not handling.
J: Listen, I have to pick up Isabelle. I do want to talk to you more about this, but I have to…
R: Can we pick this up this afternoon?
J: Well yeah, yeah. If not this afternoon, I’ll call you tonight and we will talk more, or I will come over. We’ll manage it.
R: Jonas, I’m so glad you’re here.
J: I’m happy to be here Rande.
R: OK, so what kind of solutions have you come up with?
J: We’ll one of the solutions, this is just an idea, take it as you will. I love this bookstore and I want to keep it going and it want it to be as big as it needs to be, as great as the community wants is to be. In thinking that, I have talked it over with Peggy and I think we have decided that the best thing for everybody concerned and to keep our relationship together, which of course, you know I want. And I know you want. I think that I should be able to bow out gracefully and sell my share.
R: I really applaud that decision.
J: But the thing is that I do want to be able to sell it to who I want to sell it to. I think I can get a good amount of money for my share because of the way that they business is growing. And I just want to make it clear to you that I would like to be able to sell my share to who I think would be the best buyer for my share.
R: Well this person wouldn’t be your partner; this person would be my partner.
J: I understand you would have to meet this person.
R: Jonas, you can’t just find someone, anyone. What I need to do is have total say on who is my partner.
J: Well it is my share, and I would like to be able to make what I can from it.
R: I agree I want you to be able to make something from it, but Jonas…
J: I am going to be able to work of this money. This is my future in a sense.
R: Jonas, I get first dibs on buying you out, not another partner.
J: But you can’t buy me out.
R: Oh, but I can. I have already spoken to our attorneys because I didn’t know what you were going to come back with and since you didn’t show up for the meeting 3 days ago, I spoke to Marcel.
J: You can’t buy me out because I am legally allowed to sell it to the highest bidder.
R: No that is not how our contract reads. Unfortunately there is no dissolution agreement. And in partnership agreements, one partner has the first right of refusal. So it’s up to me first to see if I can raise the funds to buy out your share.
J: I’m not exactly sure about the legalities that you are talking about, and I don’t want to argue with you about it because I don’t know. The truth is that I don’t know the exact things. But I do need to be able to make sure that I can get out of this what I want to get out of this, so I’m going to talk to some people, and then we will find out from there what is possible and I will take what is possible. And I want you to be happy; I really do want you to be happy. I don’t want to leave you hanging with somebody that you don’t want. But I need to work this out for myself and I’m going to talk to some people and I have to go again, I’m sorry. But umm, I just need to get home right now.
J: But I will talk to you more about this. And don’t see it as change that is going to start tomorrow. I’m still devoting whatever I can to this place and I will.
R: Well you are not devoting what you can, you are devoting what you want and that’s what is giving me the stomach ache.
J: That’s not true. I’m devoting what I can. I’m devoting everything I can to this. Listen, let’s just leave it at this for now, and then we will just start the ball rolling and we will see what happens. Ok?
R: At least we are agreed that it’s not working as a partnership. And I would much rather again, have you in my life forever, then have it come to blows. So think of that before you start pulling in other people from the outside, let’s sit down with our attorney.
J: I’ll give it some thought.
R: How is next Monday for you?
J: Well so far I think that’s fine.
R: Fine, then I will set up an appointment with Marcel for next Monday.
J: Ok, alright. I will talk to you later.
R: So this was a very frustrating outcome to this meeting. There is no partnership agreement on the planet that would allow for something like that. It has gotten to a point where he feels so self absorbed that he would even propose something like that is preposterous. It’s a very delicate, tight rope to walk on. You have to figure out to fit in with the friend ship and still stand out a as business partner. It’s a very tricky relationship. Plus the fact that there is a male-female hierarchy here, I am being put in a position of almost being the mother the disciplinarian, which is not a role I fall into very easily. And it was aggravating to not get him to see what he was doing and how he was affecting the business and how he was affecting me. None of which seemed to be a priority for him. I was relying on a friend and expecting life to be fair, and of course it isn’t fair.
Case 6: Negotiation
A: Hi Katherine.
K: Hi Alisa, how are you?
A: I’m good thanks.
K: It was OK coming over here, no problem?
A: Yeah, yeah, no problem. So I called this meeting, I know we are in the final stages of negotiating the contract. Just recently I found out the executives got incredibly large bonuses and I thought there was no more money. This is very frustrating. I didn’t know anything about this. I didn’t understand why I wasn’t notified, basically on such an important point. I’m ready to call the New York Times and scream bloody murder because this is unacceptable for me not to know this important point. And I don’t understand why you wouldn’t tell me the truth.
K: Well I think we should take a step back. I absolutely told you the truth with regard to the wage increase. Across the board there are absolutely no increases to be offered. The money that you’re mentioning is related to bonuses awarded to executives for last year’s performance and came from last year’s budget.
A: I didn’t know about this.
K: Honestly, it’s not something that is part of this negotiation because I do not have the ability to go into last year’s budget to try to help the employees for this year. I’m given a pool of money, which is this year’s money. The fact that certain people have been awarded at year end, a bonus and the fact that this payout may occur at some time during this year is completely unrelated.
A: I should have known this information. If this is something that is a company thing, and I have negotiated in good faith thinking the money is not there, finding out about this, you can imagine how frustrated I am. So I want to know, really I’m not calling you a fibber, but I don’t believe that there is no money. I’m having a hard time wrapping my brain around that.
K: I want to mention two points. First, you are new to this industry, and I don’t want to mention that many times because I want the fact that we are going to be working together or years, I have been doing this for 10 years, and there are things that you are not familiar with and this is one of them.
A: Case in point is that this should have been explained.
K: Absolutely not. That’s my exact point in the opposite.
A: You don’t think I should have known about this important information? It’s money, it’s money. It’s the budget.
K: Absolutely not. And the budget relates to last year’s revenue. Again, we can keep going on this or we can work on the points that can actually help the employees.
A: I think that you are trying to avoid discussing this because you know that it would be an integral part of this discussion.
K: It’s last years numbers, based on revenues from two years ago, when those numbers come in, that bonuses are awarded. It’s completely different. And I must say that I am personally offended that you are now saying that this is in some way, a fraudulent nondisclosure and our company prides itself on full disclosure of its financials and taking care of its employees. You’re going along a very thin line here saying that you’re questioning my ethics.
A: I’m not personally attacking you.
K: Well you’re saying that I didn’t disclose something that relates to another year’s budget and that somehow that is not full disclosure, I just don’t agree.
A: Well see that’s where we keep butting heads, you keep saying the money is last years, but you see the money is still in this year’s budget.
K: It’s not. The payout is this year, out of last year’s budget. The cheques are being cut this year but it’s completely unrelated.
A: I don’t understand that.
K: We’ve had several meetings now; I do understand that the number one point is salary increases. It’s not a matter on negotiating and finding the number, there is no money to be had on salary increases, neither in management or non management is awarded a single dollar. My pay stayed the same, I’m more than happy to show you my pay stub, as well as disclose the fact that it’s just not on the table for negotiation.
A: No thank you, I don’t want to see you pay stub.
K: We’re spending a lot of time on an issue that I have no leeway to change at all.
A: Well what about the bonus that’s going to next year? Why don’t you give that money to the people, as opposed to once again, giving it to the upper management?
K: Well what happens at the end of the year is going to determine if there’s a bonus. The fact that there was a bonus last year does not mandate that there is going to be a bonus this year. I don’t have funds.
A: But there is money waiting around obviously to be given to somebody as a bonus.
K: At year end, if there is money available, depending on how revenues go from now until the end of the year, and depending on the managements’ performance at the end of the year, that’s a determination that can happen. I can’t say right now.
A: Well the dollar amount you’re saying, but it’s clear to me according to the way things have been working that someone is going to get a bonus.
K: And I think that is the wrong assumption. There are years when the company does not do well that it does not award bonuses. We have had years where the company is running negative and bonuses are not awarded. So you’re talking about money that possibly, could be, if revenue turns around, could be awarded at year end. And you and I are going to have a negotiation next year, and if the company does better, we are going to have more money to award the employees.
A: Why can’t it be allocated differently? How can you help me get that money to my workers? That’s the issue here.
K: I think what we need to do, and what we can address and work with, is that there is nothing that can be done on the salary increase. But I can formulate bonus distributions, providing bonuses to the employees based on this year’s revenue.
A: I definitely don’t understand why this wasn’t presented before.
K: Because we were discussing the salaries of the individuals, you came to me wanting a 7% salary increase; there is salary freeze across the board. But I am willing to come to the table and say, the employees, I am very well aware, contribute to the revenues of this company and if they can’t receive it in salary increase, we can take a look at the revenues at year end and we can make an exception, we can work with them on formulating a new type of structure, that has a bonus component.
A: OK, I would definitely like this in writing.
K: What I suggest is that I draft this; I will get this to your desk so that you can review it and then we can meet on Tuesday and not lose much time. And I will get that to your desk by tomorrow morning.
A: Ok that would be fabulous. I really appreciate that, and I hope that it’s a little more smooth sailing.
K: And I do too. It’s really important that the employees feel really good about their jobs and I think we are on the right track to get there.
A: OK, I’d like to think so. Alrighty Katherine.
K: Ok then I will see you on Tuesday and if you don’t get that document by morning, and then just contact my office.
K: I think that she came into a very difficult situation where employees hadn’t seen an increase in 3 years and I don’t think the employees were going to accept another contract without seeing more dollars. I know I was making it very difficult in sticking with my salary freeze. My approach was that she hadn’t come to the table with anything that had scared me yet. I knew very early on that I would have to provide some compensation. I dug my heels in I think because I didn’t want to offer too much too quickly. I made a gamble that she was going to raise some issues that I would really have to deal with, like going to press, bad PR and typical things that happen in a labour negotiation. So I was holding off providing any type of compensation. If I had brought that too early onto the table, and she was still not satisfied with the number and then she had brought up options of going to the press because it’s still not good enough, I then had used up the only I really was prepared to go to. It’s possible that I could have brought up the compensation sooner and it would have gone smoother and ended sooner. However, my fear was that it wasn’t going to be good enough and then I didn’t know where I would have to go from there and I didn’t want to have to give more. I think the executive bonuses were more relevant than I lead her to believe, because money is money, especially to her employees. You can call it anything you want I did take the high road of a CFO type of response saying that they are related to another pool of money. I know that’s not a response that she can really go back with. I didn’t know how to diffuse it because they are huge amounts of money. I could have said that they were already allocated and there were contractual obligations but money is money and the big inequity is very hard to diffuse so I hid it behind a logistic. I was aware of it, but didn’t really know how to make that any softer because in the real world there really is no way of making it softer. One person is making 3 billion dollars and the other is making $5.50 an hour. I am 100% willing to fight for the solution that I offered. As difficult as it was to get to in the meeting, again I was doing a timing issue, the employees are what make the company, and the employees are certainly what make the revenue. I think actually it’s a more fair structure. I think that the bonuses that have been awarded and I would never allow that to come up in a meeting because I represent the company, that the numbers that the executive receives are kind of up there in the ridiculous numbers and that’s just the way society has gone, and that’s just the expectations that these executives have. But the people that make the company, the entry level and the middle management, they keep the company going on a day to day and I think a revenue based compensation structure is the most fair because it takes into account the work that they have contributed to the company relative to the state of the economy. And whatever that yields, it should trickle back down to them so I would absolutely go to bat for it.
Case 5: Ethics
G: Jason, I have such awesome news for you, I’m so glad you’re here. Betsy said that you are going out of town and I was wondering you know, is he going to be here or not because I have such awesome news.
J: Yeah great.
G: I have Bestel who is interested in investing 4 million dollars in this company, immediately. All we have to do is sign a few papers and we are done. Now the chairman of the board, do you remember Jack Schneider? Do you remember when he came in?
J: I do.
G: Ok. So I have known him since I was a kid, he’s almost like an uncle to me. Now he said, basically this is a done deal. Now his shareholders, they don’t get together until 2 weeks after the fourth quarter. But that’s not really a problem because I have talked to him, and worked everything out and done everything that he wanted me to do.
J: does he have to get the shareholders to approve the deal?
G: Well yeah of course.
J: Well how is he going to do that if the quarter ends, he can’t legitimately sign the deal before he gets shareholder approval?
G: Ok, well technically I know what you’re saying, but I’m telling you I know this guy. He’s like, like at thanksgiving and when I was growing up we would have picnics together, and he’s given me the OK. He says he’s got these shareholders on his side, and then he’ll have this meeting that’s kind of a technical problem but other than that, he said he will do it so it’s really not a problem.
J: So if he does that though, are we authorized to go ahead and make this deal. Because obviously there is a lot of pressure in our department right now. I don’t know if you’re going to be here or if I’m going to be here or whatever, so obviously if we can get this through, it will be great. But you know I’m not going to sign the guy’s name just to get it through. So I guess my question is how is he going to legitimately get this signed for us before our quarter ends?
G: OK. He’s chairman of the board so he can make these kinds of decisions. And I know this isn’t exactly perfect procedure, but at this point, I think this is something we both have to look at. I mean I need my job, you need your job, people are expecting their bonuses. I’m just trying to give you a solution. That doesn’t mean that everything is going to be to the letter, perfectly done, according to every single policy that we have, but it does mean that it would save this company. And I have this thing sitting here right now and it’s an awesome thing for Bestel, but it’s also an incredible opportunity for us, and you know I think it would be a bit insane to miss it.
J: Well I agree, obviously I would like to get this deal pushed through, make you look like a superstar, helps me out, you know our department is back on track again.
G: So basically we are on the same page here right?
J: Um hum.
G: Ok, so what do I have to do to get you to agree to do this, like within the next few days?
J: Well I think there are two things we need to do. First I want something in writing from you that spells out the details of the deal. And number two, I think it would be a good idea for you and me to get on the phone with Jack and discuss this so that I have a good comfort level going into this.
G: OK well there is nothing about this that is going to be comfortable, we just need to do it because it’s the right thing to do And I don’t understand, like if I put this in writing the whole idea is for you and I to get this done. We’ve known each other for four years, we can get this done. If we tell everyone, then obviously it’s not going to go through, I mean let’s be honest right?
J: Well, I don’t see, why do you think that?
G: Why do I think that? Of course that’s how it’s going to work right?
J: Well I don’t understand why you are so anxious to get this thing pushed through right away.
G: You don’t understand why I’m anxious? Jason, I’m anxious because I want to keep my job. I need my bonus OK; I just bought a new house. I care about the company; I want this to go through.
J: Well you just need to relax and make sure this goes through the right way.
G: I really hate when people tell me to relax. OK the right way is the loser way, it’s not going to work that way.
J: When you first came in here you really made it sound like this is a legitimate thing and now, you’re not changing your tune?
G: I’m not saying that it’s not legitimate; I’m just saying that nobody got ahead by not using a little bit of imagination and not taking a risk. Obviously you’re more conservative than I am. I’m ambitious and I want this thing to go through and I care about the company. And the greater thing is to get this thing through, done deal.
J: I think it’s really not fair that you’re accusing me of not caring about the company, we’ve worked together a long time and you know as well as I do that I have put my heart and soul into this place.
G: OK, then you have to take a risk.
J: I agree. I have 2 things that I really have to worry about. One is making sure that this division is profitable.
G: Oh and how are you doing on that right now?
J: We’re doing horrible as you know. But I have another very big, important part of my job, is to make sure we get things processed properly.
G: Well properly is not the way that this is going to work. I have given you the best deal.
J: I’m a little weary now. You come in here and you have this great deal that is going to work out fine and now you’re changing your tune and saying…
G: Well here you are putting stops on this. That’s not the way to do good business. I want to get this done, I want to save this company, and I want everyone to get their bonuses. I don’t have to do this with you. I can go ahead and step over you and go straight to Ralph. Would you like me to do that, or would you like to do this in the next few days and be a hero to your people. They will get their bonuses, there won’t be any layoffs and our company will be doing great. But right now, you don’t look so good.
J: That’s all well and good and if you feel that strongly about it that you want to go over me, that’s fine. I think if you take some time and think about it, that’s not such a wise move.
G: Who do you know who hasn’t taken a risk? Do you have any mentors that haven’t taken a risk to get something going?
J: You know that I take risks too. We’ve worked together a long time, you know that I have.
G: I just, I think you’re making a big mistake that’s all. I care about you and I want this to go well, and I don’t want you to lose your job.
J: Well you’re giving me mixed signals here. Two minutes ago you said you were going to go over my head and now you’re saying that you care about me. You know, my eyebrow is going to raise over this deal. I can’t figure out, like you know, I have a feeling that there is a lot of pressure on you that you’re feeling now to get this done.
G: Of course I have pressure on me, you have pressure as well, and I mean we’ve got to get it done. And the way I see it, look Jason, it’s really too bad.
J: We have to do this the right way though.
G: We can’t do it the right way; I have been over it with you.
J: Well if it’s not going to go through the right way, I don’t really feel comfortable doing it.
G: Well then you just sit right here and you just wait to do your job but I’m not going to do that. So you have until 10 tonight to let me know if you are on board with this, otherwise I’m going to Ralph. Do you understand what I’m saying? I’m not kidding.
J: You already have my answer, and I don’t appreciate you giving me an ultimatum. My answer is that I need something in writing and I want to get on the phone with you and the guy.
G: Well that’s really too bad.
J: And if you don’t get that to happen, then I’m not signing off on it.
G: I’m not losing the deal.
J: I don’t think the meeting went very well at all. She seemed to be too anxious and too focused on getting her year end bonus and securing her job and saving the department. Obviously she didn’t like what I had to say and vice versa. The biggest thing that worried me was that Gina was so focused and so excited and so worried without really considering the ramifications of the deal. If something got botched up and there was some kind of veto action taken. She just wanted to push it through without considering all of the consequences. The risk of Gina’s plan was that she wanted to push through the contract before it was legitimately approved by the shareholders or just legitimately approved period. I wasn’t willing to sign off on a deal just for the sake of having a deal signed so that the money comes in and we can book that before year end. I guess I needed to find out more details which Gina didn’t seem like she was willing to give up. She basically was trying to sell me to sign off on the deal. There is still a 2 week window where we certainly have time. It didn’t need to get done and signed today, this afternoon or tonight. We certainly could have looked into it to see if there was any alternative to getting it signed or getting it booked before year end. My own opinion about risk is that there is always going to be risk involved. You want to do what you can to minimize it, in any deal that you go into. You don’t want risk to be something that holds something up from being signed and being pushed through. You have the accountants and the lawyers on one hand and the sales people on the other. And the sales people just want to push the contract through and get everything signed. And the accountants and lawyers want to look over every detail in the contract, which slows things down. So you need to get some kind of balance there. I guess that’s the managers’ role really, is to try to be in between that, in between making sure it’s going to be a responsible deal, and also still getting your sales people to push through and sign deals. In this particular case, I leaned more toward the accountant because who I had in front of me. She was absolutely just trying to sell me on the idea of, you know, I assumed she wanted me to sign off on this thing without even looking it over. As I questioned her more and more we got into more specifics about, you know, about the shareholders were not going to meet until after our quarter ends. And there are just more details that came out that raised red flags as our conversation went on. And you know in that I am definitely playing more the accountant or the auditor and trying to get more information out of her so that I don’t sign something that gets me into trouble.
Case 4: Privacy
L: Hi Janet.
L: How are you?
J: I’m good. One second.
L: Sure. We are here to talk about the situation with Willy Cushing. I need to understand what happened and why I wasn’t informed about it.
J: I know, I know. I’m sorry that it happened when you were away, it was not intentional and I apologize for that because I know it must have been a shock for you.
L: Yes. Why wasn’t I informed? I left my emergency contact number.
J: I thought about it, the decision was mine and I decided against it. You were on vacation, informing you I don’t think would have changed anything. And so I decided not to.
L: But this has left a huge hole in my organization, without Willy there we need to come up with a plan. And first I need to understand what happened.
J: OK. We will come up with a plan and everything will be ok in that direction. What happened was very simple. As you know we have the technology and right to review everyone’s telephone and internet use records. And a big red flag came up on William Cushing. He had multiple irregular use of the telephone, everything was outside of the Bank Street use business, and his use of the internet was abusive.
L: Willy has been such a great employee. Is this something that has just happened, or did the red flag come up before I was gone?
J: No we have been reviewing records for a long time. HR and other departments have talked about the punitive action, we have decided on it, and coincidently and unfortunately, we decided to put it into action while you were away.
L: I was never informed of this prior to my leaving.
J: Prior to your leaving, there was nothing to inform you about.
L: What about the warnings? You said that it has been happening, that you have been looking at the records.
J: I have been looking at records for everybody, everyone in your department and for everyone in everybody else’s department. When it hits a certain level of misuse, that’s when we sat down and decided what to do. So right now, William Cushing is on administrative leave.
L: OK, so you’re saying that he made personal calls…?
J: He made a lot of personal calls, long distance calls, to Iowa, somewhere in New York, Massachusetts.
L: Look, everybody makes personal calls. Personally, I don’t have a problem with that. He’s always done a great job.
J: Personal calls, especially multiple personal calls are improper use of company property frankly. And it must work into someone’s productivity. And if you couple that with the amount of time that he’s spending on the internet.
L: Well whatever he has done has not impacted his performance. And I should be part of that decision; I should be part of the decision over whether he leaves for this.
J: That doesn’t change the records, it’s not going to change his records, it’s not going to change the policy here as to what is proper and what is improper.
L: Well it just doesn’t sound right to me, and we need to get him back, that’s the bottom line. And if we need to go higher in the organization to change that decision…
J: Lynn, I am not going to change my decision that is not a good precedent. And it’s not a good precedent to look at someone’s record and say well maybe not him but maybe someone else.
L: Well if he had performance problems then maybe. But he doesn’t have performance problems; he doesn’t need to be on leave.
J: Let’s talk about that after his leave.
L: This is wrong, this is simply wrong. And I was not informed about this.
J: Lynn, he’s not the only person whose records have been looked over.
L: Somebody else in my organization?
J: Yes, you.
L: Who? Oh my records?
J: Yes, your records have also been reviewed.
L: And what are you saying?
J: I’m saying that I have records of long distance phone calls that are outside of business, and use of websites, and time on the internet that seems inappropriate.
L: This is crazy because obviously these policies have not been clearly defined.
J: I think that they have been made very clear in all of our employee information, and employee brochures, and employee workbooks.
L: I need to seem the records, I need to see how they exceed the thresholds for myself and for Willy and for anyone else in my organization that this is happening to.
J: I didn’t say that it had exceeded the thresholds for you.
L: What did you say?
J: I am saying that there is improper use on it I’m not saying that it exceeded the threshold.
L: OK, so you’re saying that I need to?
J: Listen Lynn, we are going around in circles, we are going around in circles. I am sorry that this happened while you were away, it was unintentional but it did happen. And the punitive action that we took was our right to do. And I did make the final decision, it was not my decision alone but I did pick the final decision. And I understand why you are upset, because you are missing an employee.
L: Yeah, a key employee.
J: And this is where I come in. And I will help you with that. This is not a problem.
L: Well you haven’t helped me because you got rid of him without telling me, and we need to get him back. We need to get him back. And obviously we are not agreeing here you and I
J: No obviously we are not agreeing. So let’s have another meeting and find out how we are going to help your team.
L: No, we need to take this to your manager. We need to take this to somebody else that can get him back because I am not buying this.
L: I feel that the meeting didn’t go very well with Janet. She was very adamant about her view point and she didn’t understand the organizational impact that Willy’s absence had. She was not trying to resolve it in a timely manner. My strategy in approaching the HR director was to understand that the problem was with Willy, why he was put on leave and my goal was to get him back because we need him. So I wanted the HR director to understand where I was coming from and I wanted her to understand that he has no performance issues. And I wanted her to understand the urgency of getting him back quickly. I definitely think the HR director was trying to intimidate me by saying that my records were in question as well. I do not think that intimidation is a successful tactic. I don’t think that the company’s policy is justified because there was no performance issue here. I can understand if there was excessive phone use for budgetary reasons. I can see sitting sown with the employee and explaining that to him but certainly not making him leave. I don’t think that I should have managed Willy differently because I don’t think it’s really a problem. I think that there is something else going on. My next step is to go to Janet’s manager, because I need to resolve this very quickly. I would hope that he would understand the impact that it is having on the organization. I am also upset that I was not contacted when this happened. That is a huge issue and I don’t understand why that happened. And he needs to understand that. I will adjust this policy with the rest of my team because I don’t want this to happen with anyone else. And if HR is going to continue to look at people’s records without consulting me, I need to be prepared for that. I feel comfortable asking my team to not make personal calls and not suing the internet if it’s within a reasonable threshold. I agree with that policy to some degree. I believe that excessive use can definitely impact performance, but if it doesn’t impact performance, and it doesn’t impact any budgets then I don’t see a problem with it. I don’t feel differently about the company now after having had this situation happen. I do feel differently about HR and the way that they administer their policies without consulting or without warning the managers involved. That leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth but I don’t have a bad taste for the company as a hole.
Case 3: Culture Differences
M: Nice to finally meet you
N: How do you do?
M: Please have a seat, how was your trip?
N: Oh very good
M: When did you get in?
N: Oh, it was this morning, so about six hours
M: Great, great, long flight though obviously for Tokyo
N: Oh yes, it takes about fourteen hours to get here
M: I have been talking to Roger, who I know you have been working with very closely on this deal for awhile now and I’m just here to kind of wrap things up with you. So if everything is ok we actually would love to actually excuse the contract
N: Roger really like sushi
M: Yeah, again I know, again I know form Roger’s reports
N: He loves sea cucumber
M: Sea cucumber?
N: Sea cucumber
M: Sea cucumber, well that sounds like an exotic a dish
N: Never had it before?
M: Ah no, no, no I haven’t
M: Yeah, I’m more of a tuna and salmon sushi eater
N: Never had seafood before?
M: No, no I haven’t
N: How bout fresh water eel
M: Fresh water eel, oh that’s a little foreign for my taste
N: You like salt
M: Yeah I love salt
N: You like salt water, salt, salt water eel better?
M: No, I kind of like avoid the whole eel thing as it is
N: You do
M: But listen, we are really, really busy here
N: You don’t like eels do you?
M: You know I don’t know if Roger has explained
N: Excuse me
M: I’m sorry go ahead
N: You don’t like eels
M: I, I, I like them to…. No, no I don’t
N: That’s fine
M: I have spoken to Roger and for what I understand that we are very excited about the pop, the pop account
N: May I ask what happened to Roger
M: Roger is still with the company
N: He is?
M: Absolutely, we are having an internal reorganization
N: What is he doing?
M: He is working on other accounts, in other areas of the company, kind of making things more efficient
N: Do you know why?
M: Yeah, we decided that I would be better suited on these foreign accounts and he would be better suited doing more of the national stuff
N: Oh really
M: Yeah, yeah so again if we could just get the ball rolling her, just execute this contract. Just sing right at the bottom
M: Right there
N: Please forgive me but I don’t feel we are quite ready to sign a contract with you
M: Oh ok, what’s the problem, just tell me
N: No there is no problem
M: Ok so that what are you, why are you being hesitant about signing the contract that has already been negotiated
N: I’m not hesitant
M: Well you’re not signing the contract
M: I don’t mean to be confrontational about this, this is like you know, this is just from what I understand the last part of the deal. Which was going to be you coming here and signing the contract and we get the ball rolling and we can start
S: Excuse me Michelle your next appointment is waiting
M: Just hang on about two minutes I will be right with him
M: I apologize again for this brief meeting, I wish we had more time this time but we certainly, next time I will allocate enough time so that we can really get to know each other and we can talk about pop wear and mustang jeans and really get the ball rolling. Does that sound good? Ok well thank you for your time
Three days later
M: Norio it’s nice to see you again. Hope you had a good week here in New York
N: Oh yes, thank you
M: Good, good
N: Had a very good week
M: Listen, the first thing I want to say is I want to apologize for last weeks meeting, I wasn’t prepared. The company what we did switching from Roger to me wasn’t fair to you. I want to assure you that working with us and going forward will be much for of a smoother transition
N: Thank you
M: We would love for you to be representing our line of Mustang jeans in the Japanese’s market and we are really looking forward to a great and long relationship with you. That being said I think we can safely go over the terms you and Roger worked out last time, um is this what you guys agreed upon
N: Your price is very good
M: Thank you, thank you, we do pride ourselves in having a quality product at a reasonable price
N: You know I have been meeting with a, some other companies
N: In the past week…. In the mean time, we can still keep the good relationship between your and us
M: Well I would like that but I’m a little confused as to what you are trying to say here. You know I’m American you got to kind of come out and tell me what you’re a talking about here
N: I’m talking about that I have met some of the people and we talked
M: Ok, you were here in New York I didn’t expect this to be the only meeting you had while you where here obviously. What do we have to do to make this deal go forward today? Cause I will add one thing. After today this offer no longer applies. How does that make you feel?
N: I see, I understand
M: You understand?
N: I understand yes
M: Ok, so does that mean that you want to go forward today? See my concern also is that we are having a little of a communication gap here, are you understanding?
N: oh no, I don’t think we have any communication problem or anything
M: Great, we are really excited about this, we have promotions planned, we have trips planned to Japan
N: Yeah that’s right you told me you were coming to Japan
N: That great
M: Yes and you are going to take me to dinner. Roger and I will take you to dinner to your favourite restaurant, you pick it
N: That would be great
M: Excellent, excellent, so what about you a signing the contract today
N: Well unfortunately my plane leaves this afternoon, in a few hours
N: And I have to start heading to the airport
M: Well that’s no problem
N: I’m sure we will have a very good business in the future and we will ply golf together in Tokyo and we can have great food together
M: Well absolutely, absolutely
N: We will have a wonderful time together
M: I’m sure we will have a great time
M: Getting back to the contract, just for a second, just for one second. Um we would love you to sign the contract today. Would that be ….is that possible in any way?
N: I really don’t have much time. Thank you so much. It’s been such a pleasure seeing you again Mr. Sokolow …yes…Sokolow of course
M: A pleasure, have a great trip back, nice meeting you Norio
M: I didn’t really know how to act with his behaviour, which by the way I might add as well, was not very professional either. He wouldn’t even talk about the contract, or what the whole point of it was. He didn’t really give me a chance either. He came in here from second one. I think he came in here with the intent of not doing the deal. I wasn’t quite sure if it was a communication or a cultural difference. There was a lot he was not saying and I didn’t know if I was being dense and couldn’t really see what he was trying to say to me. I certainly tried to pick it up. I was under a time constraint so I felt pressured not to go off the subject, which obviously backfired. Knowing what we know about the Japanese market and the Japanese business practices, you don’t rush the relationship and it’s all about the relationship. I would let him come to me on his own time, when he was ready to speak about it. Maybe I was rushing it. The flipside is you know there is only 24 hours in a day. Maybe this guy isn’t for real, maybe there is no deal here and he just likes to talk about golf and ell. So you have to keep that in your mind as well. You know say, cut my losses.