Evergreen Solutions

By David Dodson, Sara Rosenthal
2017 | Case No. E537 | Length 8 pgs.

The Evergreen Solutions case profiles the journey of Drew Lincoln, the CEO of Evergreen Solutions, an environmental remediation company which Lincoln acquired with his partner, Craig Bristol, in November 2011.  Over the course of three detailed vignettes, Lincoln must navigate difficult interpersonal challenges in the management of some of Evergreen’s key employees.  The first vignette describes an issue with Bart Delaney, Evergreen’s VP of Sales and one of the company’s top performers.  After his VP has missed two weeks of work with minimal explanation, Lincoln is shocked to find a grey and sickly Delaney at his house who only offers that “he’s talking to doctors to figure out what is wrong.”  Though Lincoln doesn’t know whether Delaney’s decline is the result of sickness, or perhaps even substance abuse or depression, he must determine the best and most fair way to deal with Delaney and to inform his employees.

The second vignette finds Lincoln and his partner, Bristol, in a meeting with an upset Laela Abramson who reports that she is being verbally harassed by one of Evergreen’s technical directors, John Massaro.  Abramson eventually leaves the organization, and Massaro soon sets his wrath on her replacement, who also comes to Lincoln to complain about the director’s behavior.  On the recommendation of Evergreen’s HR contractor, Massaro reluctantly begins sensitivity training but Lincoln now must deal with how to resolve this issue internally, and the implications for protecting employee privacy while also unintentionally setting precedent that disrupts the unspoken “chain of command” interactions within the organization.  

The last vignette finds Lincoln dealing with yet another troublesome employee, Frank Keston, Massaro’s peer and another technical director within the organization.  Keston yelled at a back office worker in the parking lot after a fit of road rage, and now the office is buzzing in the aftermath of the event.  Bristol is reluctant to discipline Keston too sharply given the company’s fragile state and Keston’s unique skill set, but Lincoln disagrees and feels that a rapid and strong reprimand (and possible firing) is in order.  The entire company is looking to them to see how they will respond, but they must first come to agreement with each other before communicating company-wide.

Learning Objective

This case presents students with a series of complicated interpersonal issues which they must decide how to confront. Students are asked to put themselves in Lincoln’s shoes to think through the consequences of his decisions in dealing both with the individuals in question and, in some cases, the company as a whole. With both immediate and long-lasting impacts, the decisions and how they are handled, will be critical to determining the company’s culture and Lincoln’s success at its helm.

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