Essays on Developing Professionals: The BCG Way Case Study

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CASE STUDY – DEVELOPING PROFESSIONALS: THE BCG WAY (A Evaluate BCGs career development and mentoring processes -- what are the strengths and weaknesses? Strengths of career development process The people process at BCG were streamlined which enhanced the capability of management to control the processes more efficiently. For example, the processes have been clearly defined and organized such as recruiting talented candidates, giving them regular performance reviews and developmental feedback, supporting the professional development and promoting them. The promotion decisions were decentralized and they were made locally which allowed the group to consider career development of every individually equally.

Although consultant feedback system was made an important part of people process however, the career development office defined a detailed and clear feedback system. Moreover, changes were brought into the feedback system from time to time according to local conditions. Once an individual joined BCG, he got associated with career development advisor who was responsible to focus on the career development of the individual from hiring process through promotion manager. This gives the individual a strong advice and support at each step of their career development.

A significant focus was given on the professional development of individuals at BCG. For example, individuals were staffed according to their skills and expertise and they were encouraged to let the staff know about the skills they wished to develop and the projects where they wanted to pursue their careers. A globally consistent evaluation form was used by all team members at the end of each project in which their direct supervisors provided their formal evaluations. This strategy helped the individuals to determine their strengths and weaknesses.

Training was considered as an important aspect of career development therefore, professionals at BCG were given frequent sessions at qualitative and administrative topics. Weaknesses of carrier development process Promotion appears to be an important aspect of an individual’s career at BCG and at all levels they were up-or-out and proper criterion was defined however, the promotions were not made by tenure rather superiors had the authority to promote the individuals base on their sustained mastery of relevant skills. Strengths of mentoring process Assigning mentors to the consultants was considered as an important aspect to offer non-evaluative advisors.

The interaction between the mentors and consultants was very informal and the consultants could take guidance from mentors like on staffing issues or problems etc. Mentors gave more guidance to the individuals who remained unable to get promoted at the 24-month mark. In the mentoring process, the mentors used to follow an informal pattern for example, after completing six months at BCG, mentors were supposed to consider the adjustments of the new comers at organization. After completion of 12 months, mentors used to consider their detailed developmental strengths and hindrances.

Moreover, at the end of 18 months, mentors guided the individuals in determining whether their career paths were suitable and other aspects of their career development. Weaknesses of mentoring process Since both the advisors and mentors got personally involved with the career choice of the individuals at BCG therefore, the difference in opinions could influence the individuals negatively. 2- Pick two of the individuals( Josh Coopersmith, Eric Wong, Michael Nelson, or) and for each of the two individuals youve selected, analyze what both they and their mentors did right/wrong during those first 18 months with BCG.

Madeleine Lagarde Eric Peret was the mentor of Madeleine Lagarde however; he had been unable to focus on the reasons which were making Lagarde unhappy. Based on the CDC scores, Peret could see the progress and performance of Lagarde however, after consulting with another vice president, he did not give significant importance to unhappiness of Lagarde and he assumed that she was in adjustment phase and would settle down with time. Rather than making such assumptions, after first performance appraisal, Peret should have interacted with Lagarde about his career progression and interest in work.

If Lagarde did not talk much about herself whenever she interacted with Peret, then at the same time, Peret did not make her feel comfortable with him and failed to develop a strong mentor-mentee relationship. Lagarde also remained unable to get benefit from the mentoring sessions because she found it difficult to confide in him. During their interaction, after the first project, Lagarde was not very happy because of the mismatch between the nature of work she wanted to take and the nature of project she was working on.

However, she did not show her unhappiness to her mentor, which was her biggest mistake. If she would have discussed her unhappiness with her mentor after the completion of her first project, Peret would have been in a better position to advice her whether to join the similar kind of project again. Therefore, lack of confidence between the mentor and mentee and their so-called interaction and mentoring sessions reduced the significance of mentoring process in the case of Madeleine Lagarde.

Eric Wong Michael Lao was the mentor of Wong and at the time of selection of mentees, he selected Wong because both had the same educational background. However, being mentor Lao remained unable to achieve the confidence of Wong. He used to consider that he was only responsible to teach Wong to swim and not to sink however; if Wong did not take interest in his mentoring then he would not insist him to consider his advices. Since Lao could see the difficulties which Wong was facing therefore, he should have taken the responsibility to help him improving his weaknesses.

After the first interaction with Lao, Wong started considering Lao as a rigid and cold man and they both failed to develop a mutual understanding with each other. Wong was facing significant difficulties because of lack of skills and expertise such as poor presentation skills and weakness in public speeches. After his first performance review, he should have considered to take advice of Lao rather than considering that he was bothering Lao.

During mentoring sessions he had been trying to establish an image that things were going smoothly and Lao could not analyze the problems which Wong was facing. 3- What are some ways to make mentoring more effective? Mentoring process of BCG appears very efficient and productive however, a few ways have been identified through which the mentoring could be made more effective. First, it has been identified that people actually need to learn how mentorship works and to make people realize that they should be taught about mentoring during their initial trainings.

They should be conveyed how critical mentoring is for them. Second, the mentees should have the choice to know the culture, back ground and personality traits of the mentor before assigning a mentor. It has been identified that without the mutual understanding of the mentor and mentee and without their confidence in each other, they may never be able to establish a strong relationship. Third, rather than making mentoring a completely informal session, mentoring should be a little more formalized so that the mentors may understand their responsibility and the mentee should more openly ask for guidance from the mentor.

Fourth, in the mentoring process the first should be the relationship building between the two parties. It has been identified that the interaction between the mentors and mentees only happen after the first performance appraisal. To make mentoring more effective, there should be stages in mentoring relationship such as first the mentor and mentee should interact to develop relationship. Mentoring is a very important aspect in an organization because it helps the members to improve their performance and to choose the right career path; however, by developing a strong mentoring relationship, both parties can achieve significant benefit.

Reference Nanda, Ashish. "Developing Professionals: The BCG Way. " Harvard Business Review (2006).

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