Rob Parson had recently been hired by Paul Nasr, a senior managing director at Morgan Stanley as a principal in the Capital Markets Services division. The division had done very little business even with its most important investment banking clients. In particular the bank wanted to improve business with clients in the financial services industry. Parson was hired for his proven track record in this domain, for his relationships with clients and for his energetic and entrepreneurial approach. Soon after he was hired Parson started delivering results and played instrumental role in improving Morgan Stanley’s ranking and market share. He got first time business with several clients and increased business volumes from existing ones.
However, Rob Parson’s way of working and the performance evaluation that he got as a result of it has become a cause of dilemma for Paul Nasr. While the firm had been laying strong emphasis on establishing a “one firm” culture – focusing on integrity, utilizing employees’ ability to the fullest and mutual dignity and respect, Parson had his own way of doing things. He had a clear priority for the task at hand and often disregarded firm’s time-consuming procedures like consensual decision making. His colleagues often felt intimidated and left out and felt he needed to work a lot on his inter-personal skills.
Paul Nasr, now, had to take a call as to whether to promote Parson to Managing Director as promised. Though the 360-degree performance evaluation had thrown up unfavourable feedback from employees, Nasr knew that he couldn’t afford to lose Parson by not promoting him.
Nasr’s dilemma was thus to choose between recognizing excellent performance and setting a precedent of accepting non-adherence to company culture by an employee.
To resolve the dilemma that Nasr is facing regarding the promotion of his star performed Rob Parson.
Appraisal System and Culture Change
“A company gets the performance it rewards not the performance it wants.”
Morgan Stanley adopted a 360 degree performance evaluation system two years back with a view of using it to usher in a culture change in the organization. Unlike other appraisal systems the 360 degree system allowed a well rounded assessment of the performance of an individual by factoring in the inputs from supervisors, subordinates, colleagues and customers. The idea was to establish criteria that recognized and rewarded behaviour and performance that were in line with the company’s renewed focus on team-work and cooperation which in turn would aid in establishing a “one firm” culture across the company. One of the four feedback parameters in this system was Teamwork/One Firm Contribution. The sub-parameters under these - Team Player Skills and Contributes to MS and External related community – were supposed to drive employees towards imbibing and upholding the firm’s culture.
However the success of this endeavour has so far had a question mark next to it. As one of the Managing Directors had observed, although there was a vague cultural feeling palpable in the firm along with an emphasis on teamwork, there wasn’t any quantifiable criterion in the appraisal system for motivating and evaluating employees. This is suggestive of the fact that the qualitative assessment of team work as described above doesn’t suffice alone. There should also be a clear cross-linkage between the criteria for evaluating operational performance of employees who are expected to work in same teams.
Competencies v/s Interpersonal Skill Set of Parson
Rob Parson managed to excel in his work owing to the following competencies he brought to the table:
Client Relationships- Parson brought along with him a treasure of useful customer contacts and relationships which he could leverage in his new job. 2.
Knowledge- Parson understood the business of his clients very well. Further he had rich knowledge of the markets and the...
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