The Case of the Temperamental Talent

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 317
  • Published : January 15, 2009
Open Document
Text Preview
The Case of the
Temperamental Talent
by Lawrence R. Rothstein
Harvard Business Review
No. 92608
Harvard Business Review
NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 1992
Reprint Number
CHARLES HANDY BALANCING CORPORATE POWER:
A NEW FEDERALIST PAPER
92604
JERROLD T. LUNDQUIST SHRINKING FAST AND SMART IN THE
DEFENSE INDUSTRY
92606
NANCY A. NICHOLS PROFITS WITH A PURPOSE:
AN INTERVIEW WITH TOM CHAPMAN
92602
RAVI VENKATESAN STRATEGIC SOURC1NG:
TO MAKE OR NOT TO MAKE
92610
AMAR BHIDE BOOTSTRAP FINANCE:
THE ART OF START-UPS
92601
WILLIAM G. PAGONIS THE WORK OF THE LEADER 92607
LAWRENCE R. ROTHSTEIN
HBR CASE STUDY
THE CASE OF THE TEMPERAMENTAL TALENT 92608
DAVID H. FREEDMAN
IN QUESTION
IS MANAGEMENT STILL A SCIENCE? 92603
KEN VEIT
FIRST PERSON
THE RELUCTANT ENTREPRENEUR 92609
ANDREW HILTON
FOUR CORNERS
MYTHOLOGY, MARKETS, AND THE
EMERGING EUROPE
92605
HBR Case Study
What happens when a company's
most valuable employee is also its
most destructive!-
The Case of the
Temperamental
Talent
by Lawrence R. Rothstein
As Bob Salinger, _CEO of Tidewater
Corporation, a manufacturer of
luxury power boats, surveyed the
damage, the words of Morns Redstone,
Tidewater's reorganization
leader, rang in his head: "You better
come down here immediately, Bob.
Ken Vaughn's gone nuts. He's broken
a computer and trashed his office.
It looks like a wild bull just
stormed through."
Morris was right. Ken had thrown
a chair at his C A D / C A M monitor,
overturned his desk, and swept everything
off his office bookshelves.
"Something really must have set
him off this time," Bob sighed. All
Morris had said on the phone was
that he and Ken were meeting on the
reorganization plans. Those meetings
had become a weekly ritual and,
from all reports, an increasingly
stormy one. But this time Ken had
gone way too far.
Copyright Ф 1992 by the President and Fellows
or Harvard College. All rights reserved.
Bob picked up the broken model of
Ken's latest boat design and carried
i t to his car. He eased his Lexus
through the company parking lot
and drove the short distance to the
highway, where the usual rush-hour
traffic awaited him. As he slowly
made his way home, he reflected on
Ken's career at Tidewater. Ken was
one of the best and the brightest,
and everyone recognized his value to
the company. Bob_had personally
recruited him to head their design
department. Tough, aggressive, smart.
' T h a t was Ken. He had a unique
ability to handle complex design
problems and create innovative solu-
Lawrence R. Rothstein is president
of RAN Associates in Boston,
Massachusetts and coauthor, with
Lyle Miller, of The Stress Solution
(Pocket Books. 1993).
rums. Boh liktfd Ken л lot. Thev had
spent manv Saturday afternoons together
playing goll and planning
Tidewater's future.
But Bob had heard growing complaints
about Ken's dark side. Ken
was becoming more and more uncooperative
with the other departments.
He refused to discuss his latest
projects with anyone but Bob and
had convinced his start to Jo the
same. It was no secret he had .1 temper.
At the recent annual picnic, he
got drunk and insulted several people
from the sales staff. Also, his personal
life was shaky. Ken's wife had
called Bob recently to see if he knew
what was causing Ken's severe mood
swings. That's when Bob recommended
that Ken see Harold Bass,
the head of the human resources department,
who had been anxious to
get Ken into Tidewater's employee
assistance program.
Lately, Ken's behavior at work had
worsened. He had missed a number
oTTmportant meetings. He had fallen
way behind schedule on his new design,
which Morris, who would become
Ken's new boss, thought was
a deliberate attempt to disrupt the
reorganization. Except for some sudden
bursts of anger, Ken had become
quiet and withdrawn. He rarely
talked to anyone and spent most of
his time at his computer.
Most bizarre of all, a few weeks
ago, around the time...
tracking img