One thing that every expert commentator agrees on within the article is that the problems with which Fusilier is facing cannot be attributed to a single person or a department alone. The company is facing a highly complex organizational problem which is most likely the product of many different factors extending throughout the entire corporation. There may very well be multiple solutions that could result in a healthier organization, but I am highly skeptical that any one of these would solely involve hiring or firing a few key people.
Although every commentator had very thoughtful, intuitive, and lucid responses to the problems presented within the case, I felt that some were more grounded in reality than others. When dealing such complex problems, although insight from those with years of expertise & experience may be sufficient, a deeper analysis is always warranted. Often, even expert intuition can be wrong in light of empirical evidence revealed through market research, and thus we need to take such insights with a grain of salt.
This is why I am more inclined to follow the solutions of Gardner and Dixon, both of whom, despite having years of direct experience in the field , suggest that a deeper, data-driven analysis is needed before moving forward with any plan. After conducting an analysis, hopefully enough information would have been gathered to make informed decisions about segmenting, (re)aligning sales channels, marketing mixes, etc.
Even without having the specific data at hand, there is a general consensus among the experts that the solution, whatever it may be, involves maintaining Product Sales & Service division to sell to customers who may only be purchasing based on price and not solutions while developing a division that would sell more integrated solutions to less price-sensitive costumers. Based on the company’s history and current structure, this seems like a reasonable assumption to make.
To head sales, personally I would pick someone with experience in managing both channels mentioned above in addition to having a profound understanding of Fusilier’s sales process. Although neither of the candidates mentioned in this case meet this profile, Gonzalez comes the closest. Gonzalez probably has the most direct sales and team leading experience, has an amazing track record with the company, and is more than familiar with the industry. In addition, Gonzalez has built up strong internal support within he company, and has developed and maintained many of Fusilier’s established customer relationships. Shapiro, although he may have successful experience implementing integrated solutions, is not familiar with the industry and may be at odds with the corporate culture itself. From my understanding of how organizations like these function, it seems that everything, ranging from cultural norms to organizational structure, stems down from CEOs themselves.
Although the CEO may not directly be involved with the selling process, they still are a major agent of influence and change. The CEO directs the way that sales are executed within a company, and it is upon him or her to instill the sense of urgency and support organizational changes that affects the entire sales division. MacLeod has been indecisive regarding new prospective organizational changes, and as a result the corporation itself has been experiencing some stagnation while its future trajectory is being determined.
Fusilier very well may require a new VP of sales to survive, but this alone will not be enough to save a failing company. What Fusilier really needs is a leader to head the organizational transformations and drive its people in the right direction; a champion of change. If after careful market analysis it is determined that these major organizational are within the best interest of Fusilier, there were be a dire need for a change in corporate culture as well.
If the company turns to a greater emphasis on integrated solution selling, for example, MacLeod needs to instill a greater sense of internal cooperation within the company. Just reading about the internal resistance within the consulting department and the lack of cohesion within the product divisions suggests that this will not be an easy task.
MacLeod would need to find a way to effectively communicate this new organizational goal, manage attitudes, and create a system that rewards desired behaviors without losing the support of veteran/ important employees. Whatever changes are needed by the organization, it is important that MacLeod is in front leading them; not lagging behind with a skeptical outlook towards every decision. If in the end MacLeod cannot meet the responsibilities required by his position, than it would probably be within the company’s best interest to hire someone who could.