Steve: I solve problems proactively. Our main office is in San Francisco, but over the years, through mergers, and acquisitions, we have added twelve other companies to our holdings. Think of it in this way: The San Francisco office is an umbrella. All the other companies are under the umbrella.
Natalie: That''s a good analogy. What are some of the problems?
Steve: (Hesitates.) I hope you won''t be offended by what I say, but I can only tell you a few details.
Natalie: Oh? Because you think I won''t understand?
Steve: No, nothing like that. I know you''re a smart person. (Takes a deep breath.) There are all kinds of problems in business; one of them is corporate spying. In the past, an employee cost the company a million dollars in sales by talking too freely in a bar after work. He was bragging about an investment he just made for the company. It was a risky investment with a foreign company, but if he had kept his mouth shut, the investment might have made a lot of money.
Natalie: What happened?
Steve: Well, as I was saying, he had too much to drink, and revealed sensitive information. I walked in the door as he was talking, my face must have turned ghostly white when I heard what he was saying. I saw at least a dozen men grab their cell phones and go outside. I knew they were passing on the information they had just heard. I was powerless to prevent it.
Natalie: What happened after that?
Steve: I used my cell phone to call my boss, Mr. Jameson and tell him what had occurred. He had always been good to me and I thought he had the right to know what had transpired. The next day, Jameson called me into his office, and thanked me for the call. As he said, he was going to talk to the "blabber-mouth" employee next. He also promised not to reveal my name as the informant. And then he asked me a strange question.
Natalie: Which was what?
Steve: He said, "If you were in my shoes, how would you handle the situation?"
Natalie: That''s really putting you on the spot. What did you say?
Steve: I said I would consider the man''s past record, before making a decision whether or not to fire him... People make mistakes they later regret. However, if he was not fired, I would make sure there was no opportunity to ever repeat his actions.
Natalie: Good answer! And how was his past record?
Steve: He has always made a lot of money for the company. He''s aggressive, but some of the deals have been very risky. In this instance,the company lost a couple of million dollars.
Natalie: A couple of million! How could it still function? Did he get fired?
Steve: The company is very strong financially. No, he didn''t get fired, but the boss had warned him about the deal he bragged about. He ignored the boss''s advice and invested a large amount of money in a Russian company which was listed on the NASDAQ.
Natalie: I can''t imagine why he wasn''t fired right away.
Steve: There are worse things that can happen to guy than being fired.
Natalie: Like what?
Steve: Mr. Jameson gave Bruce an ultimatum. He has to find a way to bring back. The company money that was lost or get fired with no benefits or compensation. Furthermore, he will get Bruce''s name on the "list of losers" that has been maintained by a few large stock exchange trading companies. Bruce knows that once his name is in the database, he will be "black-balled" and it will be impossible for him to be successful in the financial market again.
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