Case Study: Executive Development for High Potentials

The Challenge

She had a MBA from Harvard, a Masters in engineering and an undergraduate degree in marketing. She was on the partner track at one of the world’s premier management consulting practices. And yet she chose to take a break from client work, volunteering instead to head the firm’s recruitment efforts on college campuses.

Management was flummoxed. She was bright, energetic, and obviously had high potential. Why would she elect to take a u-turn from the fast track and make herself less visible to the senior executive team?

As a high ranking minority in the firm, she admitted that she often felt isolated, and had also watched other women leave due to exhaustion from the seven day, 80 hour work week. Adding to her unhappiness was management’s feedback that she was overly informal, and at times overly emotional, in both her verbal and written communications.

The KNH Solution

Using a proprietary diagnostic, KNH worked with the candidate to identify her hot buttons, blind spots, and core values. The candidate discovered that she was bringing expectations to the workplace that no organization could meet. Her drive for acceptance conflicted with her equally strong need for independence, creating mixed messages that management often misread as a lack of ambition. Through coaching, she gained awareness of the impression she was making on others, and learned the value of managing her personality at work and creating more realistic objectives for herself and her managers.

She began to tackle projects and interact with those above her with a better understanding of how her style impacts others. Honest conversations with herself led to a better work/life balance, blending her personal passion for volunteerism with her professional acumen in client relationships.