Chasing Stars: The Myth of Talent and the Portability of Performance

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Overview

"If you think winning the war for talent is the key to business success, Chasing Stars will be your wake-up call."--Peter Cappelli, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, and author of Talent on Demand: Managing Talent in an Age of Uncertainty

"The handful of dollars you spend on this book could save you a fortune in mis-hires. Groysberg's research sheds new light on the complex interplay between employers and their star talent. This is a must-read for leaders who prefer not to waste their time and money."--L. Kevin Kelly, CEO of the executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles

"The moral of Boris Groysberg's fascinating story is that even the brightest stars fall when not supported by their team members. Chasing Stars shows that, well before the banking collapse, the stars of financial analysis were fallible, overpriced, and depended on their teams more than anyone realized. Let's hope this important lesson leads to more sensible staffing, compensation, and management practices in finance and all other markets for high-priced talent."--Thomas A. Kochan, MIT Sloan School of Management

"Backed by years of research, Boris Groysberg's book is filled with valuable lessons and unique insights for professionals in human capital-intensive industries. Both stars and their managers will profit from reading this thought-provoking work."--Chris Leavy, CIO of equities, OppenheimerFunds

"Chasing Stars addresses one of the most fundamental questions in management practice and in the literature of human resource management and organizational behavior: to what extent, and under what circumstances, is performance portable across work contexts? Although many firms chase stars, such efforts often end badly for all involved. This careful study of variations in performance has much to say about both theory and practice. Chasing Stars focuses on an important topic and is a wonderfully done piece of research."--Jeffrey Pfeffer, Stanford Graduate School of Business

"Groysberg's book is novel, provocative, and practical. It powerfully demonstrates the centrality of teamwork to any star's performance. Companies need to devote real resources and attention to creating developmental, collaborative cultures without stifling individual preeminence. The book's ideas resonate with my experience. Well done!"--Amy W. Schulman, senior vice president & general counsel, Pfizer

"This is a thoughtful and highly readable book with interesting and provocative implications."--Will Mitchell, Duke University's Fuqua School of Business

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Editorial Reviews

Nature
Chasing Stars highlights the key factors that improve the odds of successful job transitions. Build a network that extends beyond the confines of your research group and department. Evaluate the cultural and intellectual attributes and resources of a potential employer. Value those things above the monetary compensation in any offer package.
— Peter S. Fiske
Financial Times
[Boris Groysberg's] new book, a meticulous study of the performance of Wall Street analysts, asks the key question: is the success of individual 'star' employees transferable to other businesses? In other words, is it the team/institution that is key to the high performance or is it mainly down to the individual concerned?
— Stefan Stern
Globe & Mail
The book is fascinating reading, as Prof. Groysberg digs deeper into the implications for knowledge workers and portability of jobs. . . . [T]here are lessons in here for executives and knowledge workers in general and, more particularly, human resources officials concerned about the talent war for knowledge workers.
— Harvey Schachter
Fast Company
What if talent is more like an orchid, thriving in certain environments and dying in others? It's an interesting question, full of nature-versus-nurture overtones; we could debate it endlessly. But Boris Groysberg, a professor at Harvard Business School, has spoiled the debate with an unsporting move. He's gathered some data. And what he discovered forces us to rethink the argument.
ForeWord
Chasing Stars is an important work challenging the myth that talented workers can succeed anywhere. It proves that the best employer-employee relationships are mutually beneficial and that both can gain much from each other if they try.
Australian Financial Review
Over 10 years, Groysberg—who is associated professor in the organisational behaviour unit at HBS—and his colleagues collected data on what happened to star analysts from Wall Street firms and their professional ranking when they moved to a rival firm. . . . The exhaustive study, examined in detail in Groysberg's new book Chasing Stars, came to an unexpected conclusion: stars who switched jobs generally did poorly, often for at least several years.
ForeWord
Chasing Stars is an important work challenging the myth that talented workers can succeed anywhere. It proves that the best employer-employee relationships are mutually beneficial and that both can gain much from each other if they try.
Nature
Chasing Stars highlights the key factors that improve the odds of successful job transitions. Build a network that extends beyond the confines of your research group and department. Evaluate the cultural and intellectual attributes and resources of a potential employer. Value those things above the monetary compensation in any offer package.
— Peter S. Fiske
Financial Times
[Boris Groysberg's] new book, a meticulous study of the performance of Wall Street analysts, asks the key question: is the success of individual 'star' employees transferable to other businesses? In other words, is it the team/institution that is key to the high performance or is it mainly down to the individual concerned?
— Stefan Stern
Fast Company
What if talent is more like an orchid, thriving in certain environments and dying in others? It's an interesting question, full of nature-versus-nurture overtones; we could debate it endlessly. But Boris Groysberg, a professor at Harvard Business School, has spoiled the debate with an unsporting move. He's gathered some data. And what he discovered forces us to rethink the argument.
Australian Financial Review
Over 10 years, Groysberg—who is associated professor in the organisational behaviour unit at HBS—and his colleagues collected data on what happened to star analysts from Wall Street firms and their professional ranking when they moved to a rival firm. . . . The exhaustive study, examined in detail in Groysberg's new book Chasing Stars, came to an unexpected conclusion: stars who switched jobs generally did poorly, often for at least several years.
Globe & Mail
The book is fascinating reading, as Prof. Groysberg digs deeper into the implications for knowledge workers and portability of jobs. . . . [T]here are lessons in here for executives and knowledge workers in general and, more particularly, human resources officials concerned about the talent war for knowledge workers.
— Harvey Schachter
Strategy & Business
[B]rilliant. . . . [T]he best business book of the year on human capital. . . . [Groysberg's] findings, and the force and richness of both his data and his presentation, should have an indelible effect on how we understand exceptional performance.
— Sally Helgesen
Wall Street Journal
Early in the summer, Paul DePodesta read a book that intrigued him. Its title was Chasing Stars. Its author was Boris Groysberg, an associate professor at Harvard Business School. Its thesis had a practical application that had yet to reveal itself to Mr. DePodesta. It did in November, when the Mets hired Mr. DePodesta to be their vice president of player development and amateur scouting. . . . [T]he most telling template for how they might return the Mets to prominence [is] Dr. Groysberg's examination of how businesses and organizations can create environments where talent can flourish. . . . Mr. DePodesta was . . . encouraged by the upshot of Dr. Groysberg's findings: The author could map out general conditions under which 'stars' would thrive in new organizations.
— Mike Sielski
Strategy + Business

[B]rilliant. . . . [T]he best business book of the year on human capital. . . . [Groysberg's] findings, and the force and richness of both his data and his presentation, should have an indelible effect on how we understand exceptional performance.
— Sally Helgesen
Financial Times - Stefan Stern
[Boris Groysberg's] new book, a meticulous study of the performance of Wall Street analysts, asks the key question: is the success of individual 'star' employees transferable to other businesses? In other words, is it the team/institution that is key to the high performance or is it mainly down to the individual concerned?
Strategy + Business - Sally Helgesen
[B]rilliant. . . . [T]he best business book of the year on human capital. . . . [Groysberg's] findings, and the force and richness of both his data and his presentation, should have an indelible effect on how we understand exceptional performance.
Globe & Mail - Harvey Schachter
The book is fascinating reading, as Prof. Groysberg digs deeper into the implications for knowledge workers and portability of jobs. . . . [T]here are lessons in here for executives and knowledge workers in general and, more particularly, human resources officials concerned about the talent war for knowledge workers.
Wall Street Journal - Mike Sielski
Early in the summer, Paul DePodesta read a book that intrigued him. Its title was Chasing Stars. Its author was Boris Groysberg, an associate professor at Harvard Business School. Its thesis had a practical application that had yet to reveal itself to Mr. DePodesta. It did in November, when the Mets hired Mr. DePodesta to be their vice president of player development and amateur scouting. . . . [T]he most telling template for how they might return the Mets to prominence [is] Dr. Groysberg's examination of how businesses and organizations can create environments where talent can flourish. . . . Mr. DePodesta was . . . encouraged by the upshot of Dr. Groysberg's findings: The author could map out general conditions under which 'stars' would thrive in new organizations.
Nature - Peter S. Fiske
Chasing Stars highlights the key factors that improve the odds of successful job transitions. Build a network that extends beyond the confines of your research group and department. Evaluate the cultural and intellectual attributes and resources of a potential employer. Value those things above the monetary compensation in any offer package.
Australian Financial Review - Catherine Fox
Given all the time and money that organisations spend wooing high-flyers to join their ranks, a few minutes spent absorbing the findings of Harvard Business School's Boris Groysberg would be a very wise investment.
From the Publisher

Winner of the 2011 Gold Medal Book Award in the Operations Management/Productivity/TQM category, Axiom Business

One of the winners of the 2010 Best Business Books, strategy+business magazine for 2010

"[Boris Groysberg's] new book, a meticulous study of the performance of Wall Street analysts, asks the key question: is the success of individual 'star' employees transferable to other businesses? In other words, is it the team/institution that is key to the high performance or is it mainly down to the individual concerned?"--Stefan Stern, Financial Times

"[B]rilliant. . . . [T]he best business book of the year on human capital. . . . [Groysberg's] findings, and the force and richness of both his data and his presentation, should have an indelible effect on how we understand exceptional performance."--Sally Helgesen, Strategy + Business

"What if talent is more like an orchid, thriving in certain environments and dying in others? It's an interesting question, full of nature-versus-nurture overtones; we could debate it endlessly. But Boris Groysberg, a professor at Harvard Business School, has spoiled the debate with an unsporting move. He's gathered some data. And what he discovered forces us to rethink the argument."--Fast Company

"The book is fascinating reading, as Prof. Groysberg digs deeper into the implications for knowledge workers and portability of jobs. . . . [T]here are lessons in here for executives and knowledge workers in general and, more particularly, human resources officials concerned about the talent war for knowledge workers."--Harvey Schachter, Globe & Mail

"Chasing Stars is an important work challenging the myth that talented workers can succeed anywhere. It proves that the best employer-employee relationships are mutually beneficial and that both can gain much from each other if they try."--ForeWord

"Early in the summer, Paul DePodesta read a book that intrigued him. Its title was Chasing Stars. Its author was Boris Groysberg, an associate professor at Harvard Business School. Its thesis had a practical application that had yet to reveal itself to Mr. DePodesta. It did in November, when the Mets hired Mr. DePodesta to be their vice president of player development and amateur scouting. . . . [T]he most telling template for how they might return the Mets to prominence [is] Dr. Groysberg's examination of how businesses and organizations can create environments where talent can flourish. . . . Mr. DePodesta was . . . encouraged by the upshot of Dr. Groysberg's findings: The author could map out general conditions under which 'stars' would thrive in new organizations."--Mike Sielski, Wall Street Journal

"Chasing Stars highlights the key factors that improve the odds of successful job transitions. Build a network that extends beyond the confines of your research group and department. Evaluate the cultural and intellectual attributes and resources of a potential employer. Value those things above the monetary compensation in any offer package."--Peter S. Fiske, Nature

"Over 10 years, Groysberg--who is associated professor in the organisational behaviour unit at HBS--and his colleagues collected data on what happened to star analysts from Wall Street firms and their professional ranking when they moved to a rival firm. . . . The exhaustive study, examined in detail in Groysberg's new book Chasing Stars, came to an unexpected conclusion: stars who switched jobs generally did poorly, often for at least several years."--Australian Financial Review

"Given all the time and money that organisations spend wooing high-flyers to join their ranks, a few minutes spent absorbing the findings of Harvard Business School's Boris Groysberg would be a very wise investment."--Catherine Fox, Australian Financial Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691127200
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 5/9/2010
  • Pages: 464
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author


Boris Groysberg is professor of business administration at Harvard Business School.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix Introduction 3

Part One: Talent and Portability Chapter 1: Moving On 15
Chapter 2: Analysts' Labor Market 35
Chapter 3: The Limits of Portability 51
Chapter 4: Do Firms Benefit from Hiring Stars? 77

Part Two: Facets of Portability Chapter 5: Stars and Their Galaxies: Firms of Origin and Portability 93
Chapter 6: Integrating Stars: The Hiring Firm and Portability of Performance 125
Chapter 7: Liftouts (Taking Some of It with You): Moving in Teams 141
Chapter 8: Women and Portability: Why Is Women's Performance More Portable than Men's? 163

Part Three: Implications for Talent Management: Developing, Retaining, and Rewarding Stars Chapter 9: Star Formation: Developmental Cultures at Work 197
Chapter 10: Turnover: Who Leaves and Why 239
Chapter 11: A Special Case of Turnover: Stars as Entrepreneurs 253
Chapter 12: Measuring and Rewarding Stars' Performance 273
Chapter 13: Lessons from Wall Street and Elsewhere 321

Appendix 343
Notes 353
Index 437

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