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Rob Parson’s Promotion Essay

The problem with Rob’s promotion is a recurring one, especially in professional services firms and it refers to performance evaluation and more broadly to talent management. Should a person that substantially exceeds expectations in certain skills but significantly lacks other skills, be promoted by virtue of the fact that the first can somehow off-set the latter? There is no doubt that Rob is a star in his position at Morgan Stanley. Businesswise, he has a proven track record and great support from his colleagues and clients. However, at the beginning of his career with the company, he needed to improve is skills in the firm’s management area. I agree with the position taken by Paul Nasr, not to promote him to managing director after his first year with the firm.

I believe Rob’s self-evaluation was the best summary of the problems he was facing: on one side, he recognized his need to develop some soft skills but on the other side, his long-term career goal was not in line with the set of management and leading skills required by the table of professional positions. In light of the evaluations received at the end of his second year, I think that Stuart should sponsor Rob to be promoted as managing director. Rob has shown that he had understood the problems and that he trusted the firm’s evaluation and coaching system. He took the message to heart in a lot of different ways.

He made tremendous efforts to improve his management skills and Rob’s evaluations all noted an extraordinary amount of progress on the team player front, even if some evaluators continued to express reservations about his style. I believe the key improvement for Rob is that he understood the culture, set of values and core competencies on which the company is based. I think that one of the strengths of organizations based on partnerships is the leverage on the diversity of the partners and the various contributions they can bring to the firm. Rob is a star in his commercial orientation and he can successfully lead and develop the business of Morgan Stanley and he can be backed up by other managing directors in areas where he is weaker but in which they excel.


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