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Does marriage outweigh good business practice?

As co-founders of a small company, the female President/CEO is married to the Senior Vice President of Sales. Things go smoothly for a while with the two of them in these positions. The COO is in charge of running the business operations and close confident of both parties.

Lately when the President asks the Sr. VP of Sales for his detailed sales reports and sales forecasts, he is promising them and not delivering. In meetings the Sr. Vice President commits to the need for the reports, but when the reports are due he creates a myriad of excuses why they couldn’t be completed. The excuses he gives are usually related to making a choice between handling a customer before preparing reports. When there is a choice between the two, he always chooses the customer first.

In a private discussion between the COO and Sr. Vice President, the Sr. VP reveals that he believes his wife is too focused on the financial details of the business and doesn’t recognize the importance of instant response and relationship building with customers. He says that he is responsible for the major sales in this organization and he knows what it takes to keep those customers happy. If it means that he will be late with his sales reporting, he will be late. He doesn’t intend to change his mind on this issue.

The President believes that these reports are essential for her to complete accurate financial forecasting. All of her other Sr. VPs are getting their reports done on time. She also believes that being married to the Sr. VP of Sales may allow him to take advantage of their relationship. She is in a position to discipline him and even fire him if he continues to put off her requests. Of course, being his wife she is torn about how to handles this situation. She discloses this challenge to the COO and asks for his advice. Imagine you are the COO. What would be your advice to the President/CEO?