Some people tend to believe that any business environment presents itself in a dog-eat-dog world where nothing, but ones so called survival skills count. Needless to say, the sales department of any company provides one of the most stressful and tricky working environments, demanding ingenuity and resourcefulness from people who work there. It starts from the day one of their recruitment sales agents are being taught that the art of persuasion and creativity are the main keys of becoming a successful seller. But just like any risky game, this one has its own rules too.
From the very beginning, the story makes it clear that Christopher Knox was one of the most valuable employees in the Specialty Fleet Services Company. Thanks to his intelligence, wit and gift of charm he had already gained the favor of company’s sales vice president Jeremy Silva and got himself a very appropriate nickname “Fort” (which indicates that in the past he had already reached many business achievements and climbed the corporate ladder just far enough). It seems like he would have never missed an opportunity to bring his company yet just another successful deal and so he did, when Will Meyers, regional sales manager of SFS, let Chris pull his weights on a rather hard sale he just couldn’t get done. Moreover, Jeremy, as a senior employee, approved this switcheroo thus making himself fully responsible for the outcome. Like a sale ninja, as Jeremy called him, Christopher conceived a cunning plan on how to use Dale Landry’s ego-driven nature against him. It should probably be mentioned that Chris’s plan describes him as a rather soft seller, as through the whole, let’s call it “operation”, he had never really spoken with Dale about SFS’s product until the very end of it. Although Knox did violate the private space of the Landrys with a specific goal on mind, he never crossed the line of coercing. No, instead he slowly gained Dale’s attention and through a rather ingenious manipulation made him believe that Armadillo needs SFS’s FleetNet service. Some may assume that Knox went against ethics by bringing his plan into action and they are definitely not the ones to be argued with. Surely, taking a picture of Big Buddy had nothing to do with Christopher’s personal interests or hobbies just like bumping into Dale at a livestock auction was not a sudden coincidence. But we should also take into account that he is a salesman and, frankly speaking, he was just doing his job. Jeremy Silva, on the other hand, proved himself to be a total disaster as a sales vice president. He not only sent a time bomb of an e-mail to the entire sales team, describing in every little detail each step Chris had taken, but he also couldn’t face the music and admit his own guilt. Needless to say, we live in the era of fast communication: people use Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, different blogs, etc. and it’s just nearly impossible to hold something like Jeremy’s letter from finding its way out of the company walls, destroying SFS’s integrity brick by brick and tarnishing its image forever.
Based on the foregoing, I think that Chris should be given a second chance, but also get a reprimand concerning his “slippery” ways of selling. As for Jeremy, he should definitely get something more than a mere reprimand and his fate should be sealed by the Board of Directors or any other higher authority, because his actions, which were utterly stupid, rash and thoughtless, had put the company which he represents into a very uncomfortable and unstable position.