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ColorTech Case Analysis Essay

The problems at ColorTech Greenhouses, Inc. stem much further than the plants and greenhouses themselves. The underlying issues within the company are primarily linked to the management and employees. More importantly, the frequent problems at the headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona pose a major threat to the company’s well-being. The problems that occur at the Phoenix location are mainly related to the abilities of the account representatives, store merchandisers, and the sales manager.

To begin, the newly appointed sales manager, Melissa Richardson, was not quite prepared to be put in this position. Even though Mrs. Richardson was the top salesperson in the Chicago branch, she was not prepared to bear the burden of becoming a manager. When offered the promotion to the Phoenix branch by her boss, Beth Campbell, Mrs. Richardson immediately accepted without stopping to think about the responsibilities she would incur. In addition, Mrs. Campbell did not exactly give Mrs. Richardson an accurate job description as to what duties and risks may ensue. To Melissa Richardson, she thought she would be an ideal manager at Phoenix because of her ability to deliver consistent sales. She believed that through her personal drive that she could in turn motivate the employees in Phoenix to share the same passion for success and be a successful sales manager. Unfortunately, she overlooked many of the future duties involved with her promotion from account representative to sales manager.

Mrs. Richardson had planned for everything to go smoothly her first day as it was “casual” Friday. This may have been her first mistake. Although she had all of her belongings together and was ready to start her new career, she did not appear to be a person to take seriously. Even though it was casual Friday, she should have dressed professionally to show her subordinates that she meant business and was not going to settle for the norm. By dressing casual on her first day she may have given the impression to her subordinate employees that she was an equal instead of their boss. If she were to dress professionally, she may have given them a more stern impression so as to show them that she means business and expects the best. This in turn could have produced a more desirable affect for her first week as the new sales manager.

In addition, that first Friday Mrs. Richardson realized that the employees had all left by around four o’clock. To her, this was unacceptable and was a signal that there was a lack of care and discipline. She knew that she needed to do something to instill a little more professionalism within her employees. To her credit, she did her due diligence in looking at the offices sales figures from the past couple of years. By researching her employees’ performance she was able to determine who the key employees were and who the replaceable employees were. She noticed that a few employees were exemplary while others were quite obviously slacking. This tactic was the right choice and her perceptions based on the sales figures were confirmed come the following Monday. The following Monday was Mrs. Richardson’s first start of a full week at ColorTech, so she made sure to arrive before everybody else in order to greet them. However, by 9:00 not all of the employees were in the office.

She had planned to have a 9:15 meeting to introduce herself and discuss her expectations of the Phoenix branch. Her meeting backfired when senior account representative Alex Hoffman barged in late while on his cell phone. On top of this, account representative, Sarah Vega, showed up even later just after the incident. These deliberate disruptions received no reaction from Mrs. Richardson which demonstrated that she was not comfortable in her new role and showed the employees that her boundaries could be pushed. Additionally, when she was urged to leave by another employee she simply left instead of displaying her authority as she should have. If she was serious about increasing productivity among the employees, she should have told them that there were to be no cell phones in the conference room and absolutely no tardiness to work. This is so because both of these disruptions are a waste of time and therefore money.

To be an affective sales manager at Phoenix, Mrs. Richardson needed to be able to bring together this group of insubordinate employees who seemingly did not work well as a team. Of these employees, only a few had been meeting or exceeding expectations of the organization. More so the attitudes of the employees were so far from acceptable that there is question as to why they held the positions that they did. Alex Hoffman, top sales representative, showed little respect for Mrs. Richardson, however as he consistently brought in sales he was not a candidate to let go. Although, Mrs. Richardson still should have had a discussion with Mr. Hoffman about his actions and the fact that when other employees perceive his disrespect then they may in turn do the same.

On top of that, Sarah Vega continuously showed up for work late and even missed one day per week on average. These actions are unacceptable in the workplace and worthy of termination. A third employee, Chelsea Peterson, showed absolutely no respect for her new sales manager. These sorts of actions do not deserve to go unnoticed or unpunished. Melissa Richardson should have scheduled a mandatory meeting for all employees in order to lay down the law. She needed to tell them all together as a team exactly what her expectations for them were instead of meeting with them all individually.

In conducting individual meetings with each employee, Mrs. Richardson found out a little bit more about each employee. She determined that Hoffman, although hardheaded, was a consistent earner for the company and was therefore a key employee within the Phoenix branch. However, this does not make up for his lack of respect to Mrs. Richardson. Account representative Gregorio Torres, although faltering slightly in sales, had ideas for the expansion of the clipped flowers for the company. His idea of creating a website for florists showed his innovation and ability to establish lasting relationships with customers. Because of his compatibility and ability to come up with ideas, he proved his worth although his ability to close sales remained lackluster.

The third account representative, Sarah Vega, showed no motivation towards improving her production within the company. Her frequent absences and tardiness are concrete reasons to terminate this employee. Mrs. Richardson should have spoken more sternly with her about being promptly on time and missing fewer days unless for good cause. However, the fact that Mrs. Vega may live with her extended family while taking care of her ill cousin’s baby makes it difficult to terminate for justifiable reasons due to the Family Medical Leave Act. With the two store merchandisers remaining, only one truly demonstrates their worth. Nick Ruiz has shown a deep understanding for the greenhouses and his resume deems him capable of becoming an account representative. He showed the initiative in asking for a promotion right off the bat to his new sales manager.

However, when sales merchandiser Chelsea Peterson heard of this she was not too happy. Chelsea had worked at ColorTech for six months more than Nick and felt she deserved the promotion even though Mrs. Richardson assured her that there was no position up for promotion. Mrs. Richardson adequately discussed the qualifications necessary to become an account representative and recommended Mrs. Peterson to take training courses before submitting an application. As usual, Mrs. Peterson acted with disgust and disrespect. Promoting this sort of employee would prove costly in the end as she would not be the correct fit. Unfortunately, this situation would come back in the end.

To add to the frustration of her new job, Mrs. Campbell had asked Mrs. Richardson to complete the first quarter earnings report. Richardson was not trained or able to do this and appealed to her boss Mrs. Campbell for assistance. In addition to the lack of knowledge of the financials involved, Mrs. Campbell had not made it known to Mrs. Richardson that the last sales manager was fired due to falsifying reports. Therefore, the reports that Richardson was basing her numbers from were false. This fact was entirely Mrs. Campbell’s fault as she should have advised Mrs. Richardson in the process of creating the reports as well as informing her that the previous numbers were incorrect. After all of this, Mrs. Campbell completed the first quarter report and instructed Mrs. Richardson to start the next month expense reports so that she may do them accurately. Although, once again Mrs. Richardson would not be able to complete this assignment due to her inadequate training regarding financial paperwork. This fact alone shows that she was not the ideal candidate for the sales manager position.

To make matters worse, the acquisition of a precut flower company based in Colombia was temporarily doing great for ColorTech. This new acquisition allowed ColorTech to sell to more grocery stores and florists because of their new precut flower products. Unfortunately, the greenhouse in Colombia became contaminated causing Mrs. Richardson to look elsewhere for precut flowers. She attempted to partner with a company in Mexico, but it would take too long to ship the flowers to their buyers. Although this was not a bad idea, she should have looked somewhere closer to the buyers so that she would not be forced to compensate them. She was then forced to offer discounts to the buyers who would receive their flowers late. This decision was a good decision overall for the company because it would allow for them to maintain some of their precut clientele which would pay off in the long run.

In addition, Mrs. Richardson managed to gain a new big buyer that was Lowe’s for their flowers. This was probably her first really great accomplishment as sales manager. The problem is that bad news was already on its way. Mrs. Richardson soon received a phone call from Mrs. Campbell informing her of a possible lawsuit against the Phoenix branch. Mrs. Peterson had hired a lawyer and was contemplating suing the company for unfair treatment of female employees. She believed she had a case against ColorTech because she was declined the promotion that she wanted even though there was no opening. In this situation, Mrs. Richardson has done nothing wrong and the lawsuit would not prevail. Even though Mrs. Peterson did not receive her promotion, it was not on the grounds that she was a female, but rather that there was simply no opening for promotion. However, in situations such as these it is often better to settle out of court than to continue into litigation as lawsuits prove very costly to companies. Obviously, Mrs. Richardson’s employees are not making her job any easier.

She constantly has to deal with problems from every employee for one reason or another. Her “star” employee Nick Ruiz has even been pestering her for the promotion that he knows he deserves, but she simply has no room for him yet. She could let Mrs. Vega go but that could provoke an additional lawsuit on the grounds of the Family Medical Leave Act. She should terminate Mrs. Peterson, but this is also nearly impossible to do as she is currently pursuing a lawsuit against ColorTech and it is not lawful to fire an employee in this situation. Mrs. Richardson is truly in a bad situation at ColorTech, but it is obvious that the blame does not entirely rest upon her. Unfortunately, right now she cannot do much to amend the situations brewing within the Phoenix branch. Since Mrs. Richardson’s promotion to the Phoenix branch, nothing has seemed to go in the right direction. Much of this blame should be place on Mrs. Campbell for recommending Mrs. Richardson for a position she was clearly not ready for nor had the skills or expertise.

Furthermore, Mrs. Campbell should have provided Melissa Richardson with a clear cut job description so that she could determine whether the promotion would be a match. If Mrs. Campbell had done this then she would have seen that Mrs. Richardson did not have the financial, managerial, or interpersonal skills that are required for the sales manager job at the Phoenix branch of ColorTech Greenhouses, Inc. Due to the fact that she was the highest grossing sales associate in the Chicago branch, it would not be a bad idea for Mrs. Campbell to demote Mrs. Richardson to her previous position where she was excelling. In conclusion, the problems at ColorTech Greenhouses, Inc. are far more severe than just managerial incompetency.

The account representatives, store merchandisers, and sales managers overall are not motivated or disciplined enough to provide the best possible quality within the organization. The blame does not solely lie upon Mrs. Richardson, but a large portion does belong to Mrs. Campbell for placing her in this terrible situation. Mrs. Campbell should have explained to Mrs. Richardson exactly what she was going to be doing at Phoenix and especially should have mentioned the falsified reports from the previous years. With all of this being said, it would be a good idea to reevaluate the structure of the organization and the employees within the Phoenix branch in order to provide the greatest possible benefit for the company.

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