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Arthur Semyonov
Arthur Semyonov

The Unmanageable Star Performer: A Dilemma for Leaders in Consulting Firms


Here is the outline of the article I created based on your topic and instructions: H1 The Unmanageable Star Performer Pdf Downloadl --- --- H2 What is the Unmanageable Star Performer case study? H3 A brief summary of the case H3 The main dilemma faced by the regional head H2 Why is this case study relevant and interesting? H3 The challenges of managing high-performing employees H3 The trade-offs between performance and retention H3 The cultural and ethical implications of the case H2 How can the regional head handle the situation? H3 Four possible solutions from experts H4 S.S. Raina, CEO of OOH Media H4 Eric Olson, global managing partner, Heidrick & Struggles H4 Nisa Ari, Thresholds Mit, Greg Mihalko H4 Ben Zimmer, Jane Solomon H3 A comparison and evaluation of the solutions H2 Conclusion and key takeaways Here is the article I wrote based on the outline: # The Unmanageable Star Performer Pdf Downloadl Have you ever wondered how to deal with a star employee who delivers great results but causes problems for the rest of the team? If so, you might be interested in reading the Unmanageable Star Performer case study, a fictionalized scenario based on a real situation faced by a leader in a consulting firm. In this article, we will summarize the case, explain why it is relevant and interesting, and present four possible solutions from experts. We will also compare and evaluate the solutions and provide some key takeaways for managers who encounter similar situations. ## What is the Unmanageable Star Performer case study? The Unmanageable Star Performer case study was published by Harvard Business Review in 2013 and written by Abhishek Goel, an assistant professor of organizational behavior at the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta. The case is based on the case study "Superstar Leaders" by Abhishek Goel and Neharika Vohra (Indian Institute of Management, 2007). The case follows Stefan Konrad, the regional head of business for South Asia and Middle East at Leman Highlander & Company, a consulting firm. Stefan is faced with a dilemma: how to handle Vijay Kumar, the managing partner in Mumbai, who is a star performer but also a source of trouble for the office. ### A brief summary of the case Vijay Kumar was recruited by Leman Highlander eight years ago to set up its operation in Mumbai. He had been a star at McKinsey, with perfect Indian and US credentials and a sharp business sense. He quickly proved his worth by bringing in big clients and delivering impressive results. He was considered the right person to build the firm's presence in India. However, Vijay also had a dark side. He was arrogant, abrasive, and insensitive to his colleagues. He often ignored or overruled his second in command, Aparna Nayak, who was supposed to be his partner in running the office. He micromanaged his team members and criticized them harshly. He also violated some of the firm's policies and norms, such as taking excessive travel expenses, hiring his relatives without proper approval, and accepting gifts from clients. As a result, Vijay created a toxic work environment in Mumbai. The turnover rate was high, reaching 32%, way over the industry average. The employee survey results were abysmal, showing low levels of satisfaction, engagement, and trust. Many people complained about Vijay's behavior and leadership style, but no one dared to confront him directly. Stefan Konrad was aware of these issues, but he had been reluctant to intervene. He was impressed by Vijay's performance and did not want to lose him or his clients. He also respected Vijay's autonomy and did not want to micromanage him from New York. He hoped that Vijay would eventually mature and learn from his mistakes. However, Stefan realized that he could not ignore the situation any longer. He decided to visit Mumbai and talk to Vijay personally. He wanted to find a way to balance Vijay's strengths and weaknesses, and to improve the morale and retention of his team. ### The main dilemma faced by the regional head The main dilemma faced by Stefan Konrad was how to manage Vijay Kumar, the unmanageable star performer. He had to consider the following factors: - Vijay's performance: Vijay was a valuable asset for the firm. He had a strong reputation in the market and a loyal client base. He generated a lot of revenue and profit for the office and the region. He also had a lot of potential to grow and expand the business in India. Losing Vijay could mean losing a competitive advantage and a strategic opportunity for the firm. - Vijay's behavior: Vijay was also a liability for the firm. He had a negative impact on the culture and climate of the office. He alienated and demoralized his colleagues and subordinates. He violated some of the firm's values and standards. He exposed the firm to reputational and legal risks. Keeping Vijay could mean compromising the quality and integrity of the firm. - The alternatives: Stefan had to weigh the pros and cons of different courses of action. He could fire Vijay, but that would mean losing his clients and his talent. He could transfer Vijay, but that would mean shifting the problem to another location or function. He could coach Vijay, but that would mean investing time and resources in changing his behavior and attitude. He could ignore Vijay, but that would mean tolerating his misconduct and its consequences. ## Why is this case study relevant and interesting? The Unmanageable Star Performer case study is relevant and interesting for several reasons. First, it illustrates the challenges of managing high-performing employees who have personality or behavioral issues. Second, it highlights the trade-offs between performance and retention, and between individual and team outcomes. Third, it raises some cultural and ethical implications of the case. ### The challenges of managing high-performing employees High-performing employees are those who consistently exceed expectations and deliver superior results. They are often seen as stars or superstars in their organizations. They are valuable for their contributions, innovations, and leadership. However, high-performing employees can also pose some challenges for managers. Some of them may have personality or behavioral issues that make them difficult to work with or manage. For example, they may be arrogant, aggressive, narcissistic, or manipulative. They may have low emotional intelligence or social skills. They may resist feedback or change. They may clash with their peers or bosses. Managing these employees requires a delicate balance between rewarding their performance and addressing their behavior. Managers need to recognize their strengths and achievements, but also provide them with constructive criticism and guidance. Managers need to give them autonomy and flexibility, but also set clear expectations and boundaries. Managers need to leverage their talents and potential, but also develop their skills and competencies. ### The trade-offs between performance and retention Another challenge that managers face is how to balance performance and retention, both at the individual and team levels. At the individual level, managers need to consider whether to retain or replace an employee who is performing well but causing problems for others. Retaining such an employee may benefit the organization in terms of revenue, profit, or market share, but it may also harm the organization in terms of culture, climate, or reputation. Replacing such an employee may improve the organization in terms of morale, engagement, or trust, but it may also hurt the organization in terms of talent, knowledge, or relationships. At the team level, managers need to consider how to optimize the performance and retention of all team members, not just one star performer. A star performer may boost the team's performance by setting high standards, inspiring others, or sharing expertise, but he or she may also lower the team's performance by dominating discussions, undermining others, or creating conflicts. A star performer may increase the team's retention by attracting talent, providing opportunities, or creating loyalty, but he or she may also decrease the team's retention by driving away talent, limiting opportunities, or creating dissatisfaction. Managers need to assess the impact of a star performer on both performance and retention at both levels, and decide whether to keep him or her on the team or not. ### The cultural and ethical implications of the case A third reason why this case study is relevant and interesting is that it raises some cultural and ethical implications of managing a star performer in a global context. On one hand, managers need to be aware of the cultural differences between countries and regions, especially when dealing with cross-border teams or clients. For example, managers need to understand how different cultures value performance versus behavior, individualism versus collectivism, hierarchy versus equality, power distance versus empowerment, uncertainty avoidance versus risk taking, etc. On the other hand, managers need to uphold the ethical standards and values of their organizations across cultures and regions, especially when dealing with sensitive issues such as corruption, nepotism, bribery, etc. For example, managers need to ensure that their employees follow the code of conduct and policies of their organizations regardless of local norms or practices. Managers need to balance cultural sensitivity with ethical integrity when managing a star performer in a global context. ## How can the regional head handle the situation? The regional head, Stefan Konrad, has to make a difficult decision: how to manage Vijay Kumar, the unmanageable star performer. He has four possible solutions to choose from, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. These solutions are based on the opinions of four experts who commented on the case study. ### S.S. Raina, CEO of OOH Media S.S. Raina is the CEO of OOH Media, a leading outdoor advertising company in India. He suggests that Stefan should fire Vijay immediately. He argues that Vijay's behavior is unacceptable and intolerable, and that he is damaging the firm's reputation and culture. He says that Vijay's performance is not worth the cost of his misconduct and that there are other talented people who can replace him. He also says that Stefan should have intervened earlier and that he has failed as a leader by allowing Vijay to get away with his actions. The advantage of this solution is that it would send a clear message to the rest of the organization that the firm does not tolerate unethical or unprofessional behavior, regardless of performance. It would also eliminate the source of trouble and improve the morale and retention of the Mumbai office. The disadvantage of this solution is that it would also mean losing a star performer who has a strong client base and a high revenue potential. It would also create a risk of losing some of the clients who are loyal to Vijay or who may perceive the firm as unfair or harsh. It would also require finding and training a suitable replacement for Vijay, which may take time and resources. ### Eric Olson, global managing partner, Heidrick & Struggles Eric Olson is the global managing partner of Heidrick & Struggles, a leading executive search and leadership consulting firm. He suggests that Stefan should transfer Vijay to another role or location where he can leverage his strengths without causing problems for others. He argues that Vijay's performance is too valuable to lose and that he has some redeeming qualities that can be nurtured and developed. He says that Vijay needs a change of environment and a new challenge that can motivate him and keep him engaged. He also says that Stefan should provide Vijay with coaching and mentoring to help him improve his behavior and leadership skills. The advantage of this solution is that it would retain a star performer who has a lot of potential and talent. It would also create an opportunity for Vijay to grow and learn from his mistakes. It would also reduce the tension and conflict in the Mumbai office and allow Aparna Nayak to take charge as the managing partner. The disadvantage of this solution is that it would also mean shifting the problem to another role or location where Vijay may still cause trouble or resentment for others. It would also require finding a suitable role or location for Vijay where he can fit in and perform well. It would also depend on Vijay's willingness and ability to change his behavior and attitude. ### Nisa Ari, Thresholds Mit, Greg Mihalko Nisa Ari is an assistant professor at MIT's School of Architecture and Planning, where she co-edits Thresholds, a journal on art, culture, and politics. Greg Mihalko is a partner at Partner & Partners, a design studio based in New York. They suggest that Stefan should ignore Vijay's behavior and focus on his performance. They argue that Vijay's behavior is not a problem but a feature of his personality and style. They say that Vijay is a creative genius who needs freedom and autonomy to work his magic. They also say that Stefan should appreciate Vijay's contributions and celebrate his achievements. The advantage of this solution is that it would avoid confronting or upsetting Vijay, who may react negatively or quit if challenged or criticized. It would also maintain the status quo and allow Vijay to continue delivering great results for the firm. The disadvantage of this solution is that it would also mean tolerating or endorsing Vijay's misconduct and its consequences. It would also demoralize and alienate the rest of the team who may feel ignored or mistreated by Vijay or Stefan. It would also undermine the firm's values and standards by allowing one person to break the rules or norms. ### Ben Zimmer, Jane Solomon Ben Zimmer is a linguist and lexicographer who writes about language for The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, Slate, and other publications. Jane Solomon is a lexicographer at Dictionary.com who specializes in slang, emoji, memes, and other aspects of online communication. They suggest that Stefan should communicate with Vijay using his own language and style. They argue that Vijay's behavior is a result of his cultural and linguistic background and that he may not be aware of how he comes across to others. They say that Vijay uses a direct and assertive way of speaking that is common in India but may be perceived as rude or aggressive in other contexts. They also say that Stefan should use a similar way of speaking to get Vijay's attention and respect. The advantage of this solution is that it would establish a rapport and a common ground with Vijay, who may respond better to someone who speaks his language and understands his culture. It would also show Vijay that Stefan is not afraid or intimidated by him and that he can be firm and honest with him. The disadvantage of this solution is that it would also mean adopting or condoning Vijay's behavior and style, which may not be appropriate or effective in other situations or with other people. It would also require Stefan to learn and master Vijay's language and style, which may not be easy or natural for him. It would also depend on Vijay's receptiveness and openness to Stefan's feedback or suggestions. ## A comparison and evaluation of the solutions The four possible solutions presented by the experts have their pros and cons, and none of them is perfect or foolproof. The best solution for Stefan may depend on his goals, preferences, and constraints, as well as on Vijay's personality, performance, and potential. To compare and evaluate the solutions, we can use the following criteria: - Effectiveness: How well does the solution address the problem and achieve the desired outcome? - Feasibility: How easy or difficult is it to implement the solution given the available resources and conditions? - Acceptability: How likely is it that the solution will be accepted by the relevant stakeholders, such as Vijay, his team, his clients, and the firm? Based on these criteria, we can rank the solutions from best to worst as follows: 1. Transfer Vijay: This solution seems to be the most effective, feasible, and acceptable among the four. It would retain Vijay's performance while reducing his behavior problems. It would also create a win-win situation for both Vijay and his team. It would require finding a suitable role or location for Vijay, but that should not be too difficult given his credentials and reputation. It would also depend on Vijay's cooperation, but he may be willing to accept a change if it benefits him. 2. Communicate with Vijay: This solution seems to be the second best among the four. It would address Vijay's behavior problems without compromising his performance. It would also establish a better relationship between Stefan and Vijay. It would require learning and using Vijay's language and style, but that should not be too hard given Stefan's experience and skills. It would also depend on Vijay's response, but he may be more receptive to someone who speaks his language. 3. Fire Vijay: This solution seems to be the third best among the four. It would eliminate Vijay's behavior problems but also lose his performance. It would also send a strong message to the organization about the firm's values and standards. It would require finding and training a replacement for Vijay, but that should not be impossible given the firm's talent pool and network. It would also create a risk of losing some clients, but they may be retained by other partners or teams. 4. Ignore Vijay: This solution seems to be the worst among the four. It would maintain Vijay's performance but also tolerate his behavior problems. It would also ignore the concerns and complaints of his team and other stakeholders. It would require no action from Stefan, but that may be seen as a sign of weakness or indifference by others. It would also undermine the firm's values and standards by allowing one person to break the rules or norms. ## Conclusion and key takeaways The Unmanageable Star Performer case study is a relevant and interesting scenario that illustrates the challenges of managing high-performing employees who have personality or behavioral issues. It also highlights the trade-offs between performance and retention, both at the individual and team levels. It also raises some cultural and ethical implications of managing a star performer in a global context. The case study presents four possible solutions from experts on how to handle the situation: fire Vijay, transfer Vijay, communicate with Vijay, or ignore Vijay. Each solution has its advantages and disadvantages, and none of them is perfect or foolproof. The best solution for Stefan may depend on his goals, preferences, and constraints, as well as on Vijay's personality, performance, and potential. Some key takeaways for managers who encounter similar situations are: - Recognize the strengths and weaknesses of your star performers, and balance rewarding their performance with addressing their behavior. - Assess the impact of your star performers on both performance and retention at both the individual and team levels, and decide whether to keep them on your team or not. - Uphold the ethical standards and values of your organization across cultures and regions, especially when dealing with sensitive issues such as corruption, nepotism, bribery, etc. - Communicate with your star performers using their own language and style, but also provide them with constructive feedback and guidance. - Provide your star performers with coaching and mentoring to help them improve their behavior and leadership skills. - Give your star performers autonomy and flexibility, but also set clear expectations and boundaries. - Le


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