Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don’t
Don's day also started out with a high-note and haircut. In the barbershop, a principal of one of the losing agencies in the Jaguar pitch, Dancer Fitzgerald Sample (DFS), congratulates Don on his big win along with a comment about how much the client was impressed with Pete. It is against this backdrop that Bert approaches Don which leads to Don's confronting Lane. Don’s judgment that Lane had to leave the agency was the right one. However, he exercised terrible judgment in the way he handled it. First, Don made the unilateral decision to demand Lane’s resignation. Notwithstanding the recent rebuff of Don’s recommendation concerning Joan and Jaguar, a decision of this magnitude requires agreement by all the partners. Then, Don chose to cover up Lane’s cover up with a deception of his own. He offered to make good on the money for Lane and promised to keep the entire incident between them. While Don may have thought he was doing the right thing for Lane, he was definitely not doing right by his partners or himself.
The proper way to handle this was a full disclosure meeting with the partners with Don presenting his recommendations followed by Lane pleading his case. The partners would discuss their options and live by a majority vote on a firm course of action. I believe they would have voted with Don. Now, Don is saddled with guilt over Lane’s suicide and the added burden of coming clean with his partners about the details of how all of this unfolded. How Don handles this will speak volumes about his character and whether his commitment to be bold and brave also includes honesty and integrity.
Is That All There Is?
Don’s search for his rebirth in the ad business is driving him forward. Recent events at SCDP have awakened his desire for power, prestige, and relevance. The Jaguar win, Joan’s partnership saga, Peggy’s departure, Lane’s breach of trust and Pete’s ascendency have pushed him to make his stand. Don bared his feelings to Roger when he questioned “why do we do this” and having a “delusion that we are going somewhere.” Don wants to push himself and the partners to think big, act boldly and not be satisfied with working with “piddly shit” accounts. “Jaguar is not enough. We should have Chevy!” Don feels SCDP should have moved more forcefully to replace the Lucky Strike loss with the Dow account. He admitted to being intimidated by Dow CEO Ed Baxter’s comment that big clients do not want to work with SCDP because of Don’s New York Times anti-tobacco ad. There was also the issue of Ken’s reluctance to play ball in landing the business since Ed Baxter is his father-in-law.