Jess Westerly at Kauflauf GmbH

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AUGUST 24, 2012


Jess Westerly at Kauflauf GmbH
On November 21, 2011, after months of explaining, defending, and reshaping her stalled change initiative for sales call patterns at Kauflauf GmbH, Jess Westerly finally got approval from the director of sales, Klaus Kristoff, to try again. Westerly was the assistant product owner of CRM
(customer relationship management) applications for computer and office supply wholesalers and retailers at Kauflauf, a fast-growing provider of subscription enterprise software headquartered in
Heidelberg, Germany. As assistant product owner, she was responsible for positioning her group’s product lines to optimize design,
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The RSD for Europe/Middle East and
Africa confided in Roeder that a number of his field consultants had not even bothered to respond to
Westerly’s email because they thought her recommendations were so uninformed as to be irrelevant.
Roeder reported this to Westerly, saying that their dismissing her email out of hand troubled him even more than the loud complaints that Lin had reported and the reactions Westerly herself had received (see Exhibit 2 for selected excerpts). It was clear, Roeder added, that Westerly should have done much more “pre-work with the RSDs and field consultants.” In the meantime, he suggested that she “stay cool and wait to see what happens.”
By late August, however, no discernible changes in call patterns had occurred anywhere.
Westerly felt at that point that her efforts had amounted to a failed and feeble attempt at change that had cost her heavily in terms of credibility within the organization and with the RSDs and field consultants in particular.

Jess Westerly
An American who had lived with her family in Germany as a child, Westerly had a longstanding love of the country and a respectable degree of fluency in the language. She used her time in the
Kauflauf orientation program to polish her language skills by developing informal relationships with colleagues, even though the program itself took place in English. Perhaps because of this effort, she felt warmly accepted at headquarters despite her double minority

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