The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

RLF Recap: Leading People and Delivering Results with David Ager

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Although Professor David Ager from Harvard Business School wasn’t able to make it up to campus last term due to a snowstorm, he was able to join us this Thursday for a spectacular session on management and the work environment. With his extensive academic and international experiences, Professor Ager presented various frameworks for thinking about manager-employee relations.

The session revolved around a classic HBS case study, the Rob Parson at Morgan Stanley case, and walked through each stage of decision-making. At the start, most of the Fellows were not in favor of giving Parson a promotion, and Professor Ager pushed both sides to defend their views using evidence from within the case. The focus moved from achievements and job descriptions to an analysis of risks and assumptions. Parson’s performance appraisals were brought into the discussion before the Fellows enacted roleplays in groups of how to tell someone they have not received a promotion.

To wrap up the session, Professor Ager presented key ideas about giving and receiving feedback, being a positive mentor in an organization, and balancing performance with culture (results and fit). The case study and Professor Ager’s personal insights equipped the Fellows with the knowledge to tackle worker retention challenges and performance evaluation conflicts in any future work environment.

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