The Price of Oblivion
In 2003, the custom business was growing rapidly, driven by new salespeople we hired the previous year. But with increased volume came additional problems within the department—confusion, lack of organization and poor communication. In addition, one salesperson was pushing the bounds of our business, trying to source products for which we weren't authorized and making sales for services we weren't set to provide.
Our mistake was that we didn't say no. We let our emotions get away from us. The dollars became the most important thing. We spent hours talking in management meetings about the problems in the custom department, but we didn't make decisions to fix them. We didn't want to risk losing the numbers.
Eventually, the custom salesman we were trying to reign in quit to start a competitive business. Within days of his departure, installers who had been with us for a year or two started resigning without notice to join him. Over the next two weeks, we lost eight installation employees and, later, a couple of retail employees. We weren't even sure who was going to show up for work each day.