General Management Practice; Leadership; Motivation

did He HaVe it CoMiNG?

Primary Topic—Criticism and Discipline

Additional Topics—General Management Practice; Leadership; Motivation;

“That was an absolutely idiotic thing to do,” said Peter Jackson, the hospital’s chief operating officer.

“In what way?” asked recently hired purchasing manager Dan Smither, redden- ing noticeably at his boss’s words.

“You fiddled around with your price break calculations so long that you stalled us right into a significant price increase. Thanks to this one move of yours, we’ll go about $10,000 over budget on paper products for the year.”

“So I made a mistake,” Smither retorted. “Mistake? More like a major blunder. Ten thousand bucks out the window. I

don’t know what ever convinced you that you know the paper market. The way prices have been going, you know you’ve got to get in and cut a contract fast once the sup- pliers know what you need.”

Jackson shook his head and repeated, “Ten thousand!” Smither glared down at Jackson. “So I slipped—and I know it, although the

way we jump around among group contracts and our own deals, I can hardly blame myself. But I do know that in the 2 months I’ve been here I’ve saved twice $10,000 in other areas. How come I don’t hear about those?”

“Because that’s your job,” Jackson snapped. “Well, maybe I need a new one,” Smither said, and stormed out of the office.


• Respond to the title question: Did he have it coming? • Assuming that Jackson was right and that Smither’s error did constitute a

major blunder, how should Jackson have proceeded with the discussion?

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