Harvard Business School professor Boris Groysberg outlines findings from a study of 1053 top Wall Street Analysts at 78 investment banks between 1988 and 1996 in his book, Chasing Stars: The Myth of Talent and Portability of Performance
His team examined 546 job changes and compared the top performers’ performance with that of 20,000 “non-star” analysts at 400 investment banks.
They interviewed 200 of these analysts and talked with their institutional investor clients.
Groysberg’s team found that the star performers’ “job performance plunged sharply and continued to suffer for at least five years after moving to a new firm”, because they “…lost access to colleagues, teammates and internal networks than can take years to develop…new and unfamiliar ways of doing things took the place of routines and procedures and systems that …had become second nature.”
He suggested that firms can prevent this performance decrement by hiring the entire team (“liftout”) and by “hiring more women, who…suffer less on leaving one firm to join another (because) they had formed stronger ties outside the firm than many male analysts and so were less dependent on their former work colleagues…and they made wiser choices when it came to agreeing to move.”
Team Groysberg identifies mistakes star employees make when leaving a firm:
- Doing inadequate research into the new company
- Leaving because they are escaping something unpleasant rather than choosing something better
- Over-estimating their own abilities
- Failing to take a long-term view
Groysberg’s book considers how some Wall Street research departments are successfully growing, retaining, and deploying their own “stars,” and how these practices might be applied in other organizations.
-*When have you seen super-star skills transfer to a new work environment?
-*When have these skills not transferred as successfully to a different organization?