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Our Sales Summits group discusses a lot of sensitive issues.  Members come to the group to help them solve these big gnarly issues.  If you were part of this group, how you you advise this SVP?

The Situation:

SVP of sales for a software company who sells to both commercial accounts and to government (Federal, state and local) accounts.  The director of government sales has missed his numbers for five quarters in a row and is full of excuses.  It’s never his fault, there are always a number of extenuating circumstances, and he’s usually belligerent about it.  Here’s where the plot thickens… this person was the college roommate of the President of the company and frequently has one-on-one sessions with the President without the SVP knowing.

Now, the company has missed their numbers by about twenty percent much of which is the doing of the government folks.  The CEO and President decide that they have to cut back on expenses and ask each vice president to cut back five percent on payroll.  Because the director of government is very highly paid the SVP of sales puts him on the list of layoffs but the President won’t accept it.  He states that there is good reason for the government business to be down and asks the SVP of sales to cut in other areas.

So, if you were part of our group and you heard this situation, what would you say?  How would you advise this SVP?