Do you think Stephane will be successful in this market

| June 5, 2016

Question
Claudia Borges

Read the case and then consider the questions below.

The Individual

Claudia Borges is a consultant based in São Paulo, Brazil. She works for an international consultancy firm with offices in all the major capitals. The office in Brazil was set up just a year ago with a Frenchman in charge – Stephane Morrisot. Claudia had worked previously as a consultant for a local firm specializing in marketing consultancy. Her new role is to advise clients on their business development plans. She is good at her job and already has a strong local network of clients and other agencies. She thought she would be joining a very dynamic international firm with a lot of potential for her career but so far she has been disappointed. Stephane has been very busy, out of the office practically all the time and has not spent much time with her. She is feeling quite isolated and wondering whether she has made a mistake.

The Boss

Stephane has been in the consultancy business for nearly 20 years. The culture of the company is very much ‘sink or swim’. He believes in hiring strong performers who can manage their clients very independently. He sees his job as primarily client acquisition and growing the business. He has a strong team who so far are getting excellent results. He is very pleased with Claudia. She has a great network of contacts which he is hoping she can introduce him to.

The Meeting

To Stephane’s surprise, Claudia has asked for a meeting with him. She seems quite anxious when she enters his office and starts by nervously chatting about her journey to work that morning. He has a client-call in 10 minutes so he checks his watch. She then plunges into a fairly emotional account of how she feels totally alone and ignored. She seems very embarrassed. He reassures her that she is doing a great job and in the early days the priority is to build the business and therefore there’s not much time for anything else. He says he wants to start visiting clients and contacts with her. She listens but starts to disengage and leaves the office quickly saying she is sorry to have taken his time.

Reflections

Claudia: ‘He’s so cold. All he’s interested in is his success. Why does he think I would want to introduce him to my contacts? He needs to get to know me first and understand the culture and the business. A pity, I thought this was going to be a really great job. I need to look around for other options.’

Stephane: ‘I hope she didn’t mind me being in a rush. She doesn’t seem very happy. It’s tough, this business. You have to manage on your own. I guess she’ll adapt. Head Office have given me some very ambitious targets so we’ve just got to focus on them.’

Questions to consider

Do you think it is partly Claudia’s responsibility to ask for more feedback and time with her boss? How could she have handled this session better?
Do you think Stephane will be successful in this market?
What advice would you give Stephane?

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