The case showcases critical points of managing people in challenging organizations. The 360° review process is the core of this case.
Use of 360° review for the first time and acquisition of Landon by Avante-Garde. During acquisition, the most important concept for the companies is to foster teamwork as each employee adjusts to working with new people. Instead, they added the stress of a new performance review that had employees reviewing other employee with whom they may have had very little time to get to know on a professional level beyond deadlines. Alex dislikes the review process and calls it “unnecessary”.
The employees remain confused about the new review process. They are not sure whether it is for development or appraisal. Some choose not to comment for fear that the person being reviewed will know who made what comment (retribution).
Alex is seen as the super employee of Landon. He is a product manager, MBA from an exclusive university, has successfully rebranded 2 national products. He is talented, aggressive, and an instant decision maker—traits that any over-achieving employee is bound to have. Alex, however, uses his anger as a management tool. He does not care about others’ feelings, is used to being pushy and commanding people to “get the job done”. He has leadership potential but, although his peers respect him, they do not want him as a leader.
Sam Glass is not comfortable managing the star performer in Alex, especially when he attempts to assert his power over strategic decisions. Sam told Alex that he needs to learn to depend on other people and learn to get work done through them.
Alex’s performance feedback showed very good comments regarding his strengths from all levels of evaluation. When it came to areas needing further development, it is obvious that Alex “does not suffer fools gladly” and had little care that some of his coworkers preferred not to comment.
Managing an Overachiver: