Business Game - MazeYour company employs sales representatives /reps who visit customers /clients personally, and there is also a team of salesmen who work over the phone, selling on a commission basis. You have recently been put in charge / become the head of the telephone sales staff. You have heard that the company has suffered from staff problems, especially in the telephones sales department.
1. THE SITUATION
1. THE SITUATION
It is hard to find new qualified / trained staff there.
1One day you are astonished / surprised when John Miles, one of your team's best salesmen, has refused to go to a departmental meeting.
He has given no reason for this.
It is normal practise for everyone to go to such meetings, so what are you going to do about John?
Discuss with your partner first and choose A,B,C, or D below. Then turn only to the section number given. Do not read other sections.
A Insist that he goes as it is compulsory / obligatory for everybody, and you don't want to make any exceptions. (3)
B Ask his friends in the sales team why he has refused to go. (10)
C Ask your immediate superior / boss what normal practice is in such situations. (18)
D Leave him alone to make his own decision, don't interfere with this decision. (6)
2The rest of the sales team starts complaining that John Miles earns far more than they do. They say that their salary / earnings are lower because they have to make more outside visits than John
They say it is unfair that John has the opportunity to make so much more commission.
How are you going to deal / cope with this situation?
A The sales team is discussing the problem but they slowly seem to be dealing with the problem of John refusing to leave the telephone.
Your troubles seem to be over, so leave them to continue their argument in the background. (6)
B You tell them that you are going to start keeping records of who leaves the office for training purposes or visits, so that everyone has an equal chance of earning commission. (14)
3You manage to get/ succeed in getting John to go to the meeting, under protest however.
He makes some silly remarks and does not pay attention to what is discussed.
Are you going to take any action?
A No, he went to the meeting but you can't force him to pay attention. (6)
B Yes, you tell him that you expect co-operation from everyone in your team, and that you won't accept any exceptions. (17)
C Yes, you ask some of his colleagues at lunchtime if they have an explanation for his behaviour/ attitude. (10)
D Yes, you tell him you would like to see him in your office to find out what the nature of the problem is. (20)
4John Miles is dismissed / sacked for refusing to do the job he is employed / hired for, which also includes meetings and outside sales visits.
The union takes his case to an industrial tribunal/ court and your company/firm/enterprise loses its case against John Miles.
The court orders the company to pay him compensation for unfair dismissal.
That is the end of this way through the maze.
You could have avoided this situation, and you may like to return to 1 to start again and rethink your actions.
5John's reply/answer is that if they want to keep their best salesman, they should stop insisting that he goes to these pointless/ useless meetings and on sales visits.
What do you say?
A If you feel like that you'd better leave when you like. (21)
B I'm afraid you have to go to these meetings, they're part of your training. And the sales visits are excellent experience for every sales person. (19)
6A short while later, one of the sales reps asks John Miles to accompany him on am outside visit to an important customer. John refuses to go. It is company policy to train telephone salesmen by sending them out with experienced reps on sales visits. This is the first step towards promotion to the post of sales rep.
How are you going to react to John's refusal?
A Suggest the rep chooses someone else and tell John he doesn't have to do outside visits for a while. (15)
B Insist that he goes out with the rep as this is a vital / important part of his office training to be promoted to sales rep. (11)
7The team says that John earns more than any of them because he hardly ever goes on sales visits and refuses to go to meetings. Go on to 2.
8At the meeting everyone complains about the commission system. This is based on each person's total sales for the month. The team complains that they lose time on the phone when they could earn commission by going to meetings, helping outside sales reps and so on.
What do you say to them?
A Meetings and accompanying senior staff on sales visits are an important part of your training. We can't cut them out of your job, I'm afraid." (15)
B "Is this why your didn't go to the departmental meeting, John?" (23)
9The next day the union representative comes to see you. He warns you to stop picking on Miles (stop criticising him more than the others in the team) if you don't want trouble in the department. How do you deal with this threat?
A Sack / Lay off Miles. He is obviously just a troublemaker. (4)
B Tell John you want to see him in your office as soon as possible. (20)
10John's colleagues can't explain his comportment / behaviour. They just explain that he has always complained about meetings and training as 'a waste of time'.
What are you going to do now?
A Ask one of the sales reps who sometimes takes John on visits what he thinks of him. (16)
B Ask your boss what your next step should be? (18)
C Tell John you want to see him in the office. (20)
11On his visit with the sales rep John Miles proves to be very unhelpful. The rep asks to work with someone else next time.
What is your attitude going to be towards John now?
A You feel you can't go on like this with him anymore, so you decide to go and see your boss to explain the situation. (18)
B You want to show John that you are not impressed by his attitude, so you decide to take no action for the moment. (22)
C You tell John that you have had enough of his uncooperative behaviour. You make it very clear to him that he cannot continue this way. (17)
12John Miles answers: "Asking me to leave means that you are willing to waste your best salesman for a minor problem."
Turn to 6 to see what happens next.
13John Miles complains that he gets sent on sales visits far more than any of the others. So he misses the chance of increasing his commission.
How do you respond /reply?
A "I don't keep a record of such visits but I'll check with the rest of the team if they feel the same about this, before I take any further decisions in this matter." (7)
B "You know that's quite untrue. You are the only one to complain about this. I'm not willing to change the system just for one person." (21)
14You keep a record for each person. It shows how many visits they make, how often they help with training and any other jobs where they are away from the phone and cannot earn commission. John Miles usually makes the highest commission each month. Whenever the others complain, you can show them your record to prove that there has been equal chances for everyone. Once this is sorted out/ solved, meetings and outside visits do not seem to cause a problem anymore. You are pleased to be able to recommend John Miles for promotion a few months later and you notice that the new top earner soon attracts similar complaints of unfairness. But most of the team are willing to accept the record as proof that they all have equal chances; that is the end of this maze.
You have succeeded in dealing with the dangers in competitive teams by taking the right decisions with our partner!
15Soon one or two complaints reach you from other members of your team that John Miles seems to be able to do whatever he likes, whereas everyone else has to do what they are told.
How are you going to handle/ cope with this/ deal with this ?
A Send John out with a rep at the next possible opportunity. (11)
B leave things to settle down before acting on the complaints. (22)
C Go and see your immediate superior and ask him if this situation happened before. (18)
16The rep says he thinks John is a problem case on sales visits. John often complains that it's a waste of time for him and that he should be back in the office, on the telephone, making commission.
A Tell John Miles to see you in the office. (20)
B Call your team together to talk over commission and time spent at meetings and with reps. (8)
C Wait to see if John settles down again to his usual hard working routine. (22)
17A few days later you notice John at lunchtime, surrounded by his colleagues. They seem to be talking about you because they stop as soon as they see you. You do not think much about it until one of your sales team tells you that John miles is encouraging others to make complaints. What is your reaction?
A Call everyone together that afternoon to find out what's going on. (8)
B Let things cool off before taking any action. (22)
C Say to John " If you are dissatisfied with something come and see me about it. Stop bothering/ disturbing the others." (9)
18Your boss's only comment is: "Those people are always causing trouble. I don't know why. Smith, who was here just before you, never knew what to do about them. They even went on strike once. We took you on/ hired you in the hope you would be able to cope with them." This is not a big help for you. It is up to you to deal with the unrest in the department. Go back to one and think again.
19John replies: "Meetings are a waste of selling time."
What are you going to say?
A "No, they aren't a waste of selling time. A salesman has to know about company policy in order to sell effectively." (21)
B "What makes you say that? The purpose of the meetings is to improve your skills and to increase your chances for promotion. don't you think I'm interested in making the most of your time?" (13)
C "You're not going to get very far thinking like that. Perhaps you'd be better off with another company. (12)
D "I can see you might think that, John, but there are always parts of a job we don't like. However, since you have such a good sales record in this team I'm willing to let you miss all except the most important meetings." (15)
20John Miles comes into your office. Choose the words closest to those you would use.
A "John, you're making it very difficult to run this section. You're one of our best salesmen and can look forward to a bright career with this firm if you act responsibly. So I suggest you follow the company rules." (5)
B A department can't function if everyone does just what they like. As your supervisor I must ask you to stop interfering with the smooth running of the team, at least if you want to keep your job. (12)
C "OK, John, what's going on? Why have you suddenly decided to stop going to/ attending meetings?" (19)
21A few weeks later John Miles hands in his resignation. He has found another job. You have lost an excellent salesman, now you have to find and train someone new. Go back to 1 and try to find a better solution.
22John Miles seems to be working hard. But when you ask him to explain the work of your section to some new trainees, he refuses. Miles says it is not his job to train people. The situation has not changed from his initial refusal to go to the meeting. Go back to 1 and try to alter/ change the situation.
23John Miles says he is told to go on sales visit more often than the other members of the team. Since he gets no commission on such sales, he finds it a waste of earning time. He says he cannot live on the basic salary, so commission is vital to him. Go on to 2 to find out how the rest of the team react.