Begin a reprimand with a compliment. A statement such as, “Your work record in the past has been excellent,” or, “Your attitude is commendable,” will put the person being addressed in a more receptive frame of mind than a caustic remark. Make the letter short: that will eliminate unrelated ramblings. Make negative statements in a positive way.

Letter 1

Dear [[Recipient]]:

Caltex plant reports sent to Headquarters during the past six months have been on time, and have raised no significant problems, with one notable exception: The sales invoice processing has steadily deteriorated.  This has delayed our receipts of data for the Sales Statistical Reports.  It is also delaying our cash receipts because customers are getting their invoices late.

While some of the problems can be attributed to the Headquarters Data Center, the major problems are being created by the Caltex plant.  The problems at Headquarters will be resolved, and I am confident that the future support from the Data Center will meet our standards.

The problems being created by the plant are in three categories: (1) late receipts past cutoff date, (2) month-end bunching of sales invoices, and (3) illegible documents and invalid data.

The attached schedule details the receipts in the Data Center for the month of February.  As you will note, 22 percent of February’s invoice volume was apparently billed on the last two days of the month.  With 20 billing days, the expected percentage of billings on the last two days should not have exceeded 10-12 percent.  Additionally, over 3 percent of the month’s invoices were received after the cutoff date.

I am going to monitor future closings more diligently.  Each month we will publish a report on the prior month’s closing to highlight problems and take corrective action as necessary.

Please give this your personal attention.  We must resolve this problem.

Letter 2

Dear [[Recipient]]:

Your work during the past four years has been excellent, but lately that is being offset by your absentee record.  I am aware that your health has not been the best, but regular attendance is one requirement of your job.  Something must be done to improve your attendance, because we cannot schedule our workloads efficiently when we cannot depend on you to be here.

If you need to see a doctor, we can easily schedule time from work for you to do that.  Please give this serious thought; we need you on our team.

Letter 3

Dear [[Recipient]]:

I have a complaint from Hewett Packard. that you used abusive language toward their purchasing agent when asked to clear up a mistake on one of their orders.

Who was at fault is of little importance, but what is important is that you violated a company policy and came close to destroying a potentially profitable relationship.  There is nothing you need to say to a customer that cannot be said politely.

I have straightened out the difficulty, and Mr. Johannson is reasonably pacified.  Now that you both have had time to cool off, I want you personally to apologize to Mr. Johannson, and remember the importance courtesy plays in persuasive selling.

Letter 4

Dear [[Recipient]]:

I know you have been trying, but upon reviewing the first three months of 19ˍ3, we find ourselves running 20MM units behind our Budget, and your short-range forecast shows no improvement in the next few months.  Last January, I suggested you consider 19ˍ1 costs for 19ˍ3 rather than your budgeted figures, since your volume for 19ˍ1 and 19ˍ3 are similar.  For the first three months of 19ˍ3 you are behind 19ˍ1 by 6MM units; therefore your costs should be as low or lower than 19ˍ1.

If you will evaluate your Profit Analysis Report, you will see how the loss of volume has lowered your profit.  Besides the loss of profit resulting from loss of volume, your salesmen are not obtaining last year’s average price level, let alone the price they projected for this year.

Comparing the first three months of 19ˍ3 with the first three months of 19ˍ1, you have spent $7,000 more for printing, $19,000 more for cutting tools, and $18,000 more for packing – all of these are higher expenses with lower volume.

The only area in which you have reduced costs is wrappings, to the tune of only $930.  This is the only sales controlled item in which any improvements have been realized.

 I would like to know by May 7 what steps you have taken to:

1. Bring your sales volume up to your 19ˍ3 Budget level.
2. Bring up your depressed average price level.
3. Decrease your printing costs and bring them in line with 19ˍ1 costs.
4. Decrease your cutting tool costs and bring them in line with 19ˍ1 costs.
5. Decrease your packaging costs and bring them in line with 19ˍ1 costs.

Also please advise me by May 7 when these objectives will be accomplished.