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

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

by Boris Groysberg
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

It is taken for granted in the knowledge economy that companies must employ the most talented performers to compete and succeed. Many firms try to buy stars by luring them away from competitors. But Boris Groysberg shows what an uncertain and disastrous practice this can be.

After examining the careers of more than a thousand star analysts at Wall

See more details below

Overview

It is taken for granted in the knowledge economy that companies must employ the most talented performers to compete and succeed. Many firms try to buy stars by luring them away from competitors. But Boris Groysberg shows what an uncertain and disastrous practice this can be.

After examining the careers of more than a thousand star analysts at Wall Street investment banks, and conducting more than two hundred frank interviews, Groysberg comes to a striking conclusion: star analysts who change firms suffer an immediate and lasting decline in performance. Their earlier excellence appears to have depended heavily on their former firms' general and proprietary resources, organizational cultures, networks, and colleagues. There are a few exceptions, such as stars who move with their teams and stars who switch to better firms. Female stars also perform better after changing jobs than their male counterparts do. But most stars who switch firms turn out to be meteors, quickly losing luster in their new settings.

Groysberg also explores how some Wall Street research departments are successfully growing, retaining, and deploying their own stars. Finally, the book examines how its findings apply to many other occupations, from general managers to football players.

Chasing Stars offers profound insights into the fundamental nature of outstanding performance. It also offers practical guidance to individuals on how to manage their careers strategically, and to companies on how to identify, develop, and keep talent.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

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
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.
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

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781400834389
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
04/19/2010
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
504
File size:
1 MB

What People are saying about this

Kochan
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
Will Mitchell
This is a thoughtful and highly readable book with interesting and provocative implications.
Will Mitchell, Duke University's Fuqua School of Business
Chris Leavy
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
L. Kevin Kelly
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
Schulman
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
Jeffrey Pfeffer
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
Peter Cappelli
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"

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >