Added On: Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Steal Women Superstars Not Men

I have written before on research by Harvard Business School Professor Boris Gryosberg. I wrote about the investment houses that he studied that used the no asshole rule to attract and keep great people, and encourage them to engage in teamwork that drove impressive perfomance among investment analysts, and his related research that shows how superstars aren't portable -- that when they leave, they tend to much worse at their new firm.

Boris has a brand new Harvard Business Review article that amends this finding: His research shows that although male superstars aren't portable, female superstars are portable. Go here to see a summary of the article (Sorry, if you want the whole thing, you need to buy it). Some of the highlights according to Harvard Business Online:

"According to Groysberg, talented women who switch firms maintain their stardom, and their new employer’s share price holds steady. Groysberg provides two explanations for this discrepancy:

• Unlike men, high-performing women build their success on portable, external relationships—with clients and other outside contacts.
• Women considering job changes weigh more factors then men do, especially cultural fit, values, and managerial style.

These strategies enable women to transition more successfully to new companies. And that has crucial implications for all professionals. By understanding successful women’s career strategies, women and men can strengthen their ability to shine in any setting."

So, there you have it. If you are out shopping for superstar employees, the evidence suggests that hiring woman rather than men will give you an advantage (I wonder if this research means that sex discrimination in this situation is legal, as it can be shown to be linked to performance, a reversal of the argument about why there are no female major league baseball players....). And if you are a man, and want to be portable superstar, study what women do.

Facinating stuff. I've always loved Boris' work, now I love it even more.


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