If you want to steal a star performer – it had better be a woman

A star performer in one company will of course be successful if you persuade him to come work for you, right?  Wrong!!!

When stars are transplanted, switching from one environment to another, their performance actually falls. The same goes for their new company’s market value, according to Boris Groysberg. (link). This way everyone loses – the former employer loses a star performer, the new company doesn’t get what it thought it would and the owners lose money on their investment. At least this is the case if the star performer is a guy.

According to Groysberg’s research, however, the story is somewhat different if the talented person is a woman. Statistcally women maintain their stardom. In addition the market seems to picked up on this – so the new employer’s share price holds steady.

Groysberg tries to explain this by providing two major reasons for the 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 be successful in any setting.

To help employees shine in any organization Groysberg recommends these strategies:

Strategy 1: Build an external network. Most male stars depend on the internal networks – the “boys club” – which helps them and which they cultivate . Women often lack access to those crucial networks, for these reasons:

  • Uneasy in-house bonds. Women face less-than-wholehearted acceptance in male-dominated workplaces. They also avoid forging close relationships with men for fear of giving the appearance of impropriety.
  • Poor internal mentorship. Women receive inadequate access to internal mentors. Thus they miss out on a vital service mentoring provides: access to an internal network of relationships.
  • Neglectful colleagues. The locker-room and sports-bar cultures characterizing mostly male workforces prevent females from forging strong bonds with males. To counter these barriers, star women cultivate relationships with external constituencies, such as customers and former mentors, that are not dependent on their current company. When they change jobs, the external relationships that promote their success are not affected.

Strategy 2: Scrutinize prospective employers. Unlike men, who focus largely on compensation, women weigh broader considerations when thinking about a job change, favoring work cultures that emphasize:

  • Receptivity to female talent
  • Openness to individual styles, personalities, and approaches to work

In short:

  • If you’re looking for a star performer – consider gender (or at least style)
  • In order to increase your long-term market value – apply these strategies so you don’t depend on your current employer to be successful

I would love to hear your oppinions or experience on this matter.

Best regards,


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