- Paperback: 504 pages
- Publisher: Princeton University Press; Reprint edition (March 25, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0691154511
- ISBN-13: 978-0691154510
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.1 x 9.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #194,701 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Chasing Stars: The Myth of Talent and the Portability of Performance Paperback – March 25, 2012
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"[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
From the Back Cover
"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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Top customer reviews
I can't put this book down, and even after reading it cover to cover, I keep going back to understand the nuances of the incredible amount of information contained in this book. If you are in a position that requires you to evaluate and hire technical contributors (designers, engineers, marketers...) this will guide the way you write your job descriptions, the way you see previous performance and even the decision of hiring vs promoting internally.
Boris Groysberg of Harvard Business School asks a better question than we do: you want stars? Your assumption is that their star qualities are transferrable. How do you know your assumption is correct?"
This book provides an empirical answer to Professor Graysberg's more profound question.
That assumption is incorrect.
To develop his response, Groysberg analyzed a population called Wall Street investment analysts who work for investment banks. He looked at 1,000 investment analysts who had been ranked as superior by INSTITUTIONAL INVESTOR MAGAZINE. He then compared this "star" group with 20,000 analysts at 400 investment banks who had not been ranked by INSTITUTIONAL INVESTOR MAGAZINE.
If exceptional investment performance is a product of bright individuals, then when those bright individuals move from one investment bank to another, their ranks should remain constant or should rise back to high status after a short adjustment period.
It doesn't work out that way.....
It turns out that all the actors in the recruitment process discount firm specific culture and firm specific skills that allow excellence to flourish. And these specific factors are often difficult to transport to the new organization.
I can certainly agree with Professor Groysberg's conclusion that stars need onboarding when they move from one organization to another AND they seldom believe they need it. Newly hired stars place a premium on their past experience while discounting how difficult it is to unlearning patterns of behavior that were so successful in the past.
There are several lessons to be learned from this book.
Companies can reduce the illusion of portability of stardom by constantly letting their stars know that they are in a unique culture and have learned unique skills that won't necessarily work well in other settings.
Hiring authorities can be skeptical of the confidence of stars' ability to successfully move from one context to a new context without significant assistance in mastering "unlearning." In other words, provide newly hired stars with a strong on boarding program. And then expect the stars to say that the program is not necessary.
The cliché' "what got you here won't get you there" turns out to be true for stars and the organizations that hire them.
Finally, don't spend too much money trying to bag CEOs and trophy Directors. We all know the horror stories as anecdotes.
Now we have empirical evidence.
What we have in this volume is an abundance of information, insights, and counsel that can be if incalculable value to those who are in urgent need of understanding what Boris Groysberg characterizes as "the phenomenon of stardom -- of performers whose productivity massively outstrips that of their colleagues." Opinions are divided on numerous talent development issues. What drives outstanding performance? To what extent are skills portable or employer-specific in terms of the value and impact of their effective application? Groysberg wrote this book in response to these and other questions, each of which has profound implications both for organizations and for individuals.
These are among the articles or passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the range of subjects that are explored with rigor and eloquence:
o How the performance of stars differs from that of the merely competent (Pages 28-30)
o The Price of Leaving: What the Data Reveal (63-68)
o Firms That Foster General Human Capital (95-100)
o Stars in New Roles: Exploitation versus Exploration (133-137)
o How Star Women Build Research Franchises (169-180)
o Membership in the Wall Street Research Departments (203-207)
o Patterns of Turnover, The Drivers of Turnover, and Types of Turnover (241-251)
o The Challenges of Entrepreneurship (265-271)
o Probability Analysis (315-319)
o Determinants of Portability (323-324)
o Habits of Mind (334-336)
o Implications for Employers (336-337)
o Implications for Individual Careers (337-341)
The best business books tend to be research-driven and that is certainly true of Chasing Stars as 82 pages of annotated notes (Pages 353-435) clearly indicate. I also commend Groysberg on his skillful use of dozens of "Exhibits," "Figures," and "Tables" that supplement his lively as well as eloquent narrative. They highlight and correlate key points when supplementing the narrative, thereby helping Groysberg to achieve his objective: to "enrich the conceptual vocabulary available to forms and individual professionals, as well as to scholars. [His book] will have done its job if it has offered new concepts useful to thinking about job performance, competitive advantage, human-capital strategies and consequences, portability, mobility, hiring, retention, compensation, and the nature of talent. Helping make these complex phenomena amenable to systematic, realistic, and strategic thinking and the lessons of experience."
No brief commentary such as mine can possibly do full justice to the scope and diversity of material in Chasing Stars but I hope that I have at least suggested why I think so highly of it and its author. Also, I hope that those who read this commentary will be better prepared to determine whether or not they wish to read the book and, in that event, will have at least some idea of how the information, insights, and counsel provided by Boris Groysberg could perhaps be of substantial benefit to them as well as to their own organization.
Most recent customer reviews
Unlike most business books, Chasing Stars is actually grounded in firm...Read more