Goldman Lead Leadership Development at Goldman Sachs: Essay

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Goldman Lead

Leadership Development at Goldman Sachs: A Case Study and Program Strategy Recommendation

Goldman Sachs is a company that had more than a century of long-standing respect and authority in the financial world up until the recent economic crisis, which ultimately resulted in allegations of fraud being levied against the company and many of its executives. One creative journalist compared the banking and finance institution to a "vampire squid," and the name and image have stuck as the degree to which the Goldman Sachs lied to and profited from its stakeholders while also becoming involved in any number of nefarious schemes. In short, Goldman Sachs has in many ways become the company that people love to hate, and the scapegoat for the financial and banking sector's culpability in the recent global recession.

This image is not entirely fair, however, and the hundred and forty years of Goldman Sachs' operation before this crisis stand as evidence that in addition to its more squid-like moments, the company really has paved the way for enormous growth and success for other businesses and its own shareholders. In addition, the case study examined as background material for the leadership recommendations herein demonstrates the degree to which the company focused on its internal integrity and success in its drive to be a true leader in its industry and in the international community of banking and finance. This is not a company that can be defined in terms of its reputation in the media or its admittedly dastardly actions in the past few years, but rather this period must be seen as a hiccup in a much more respectable history.

This paper will begin with an examination of Goldman Sachs and its leadership style and development program as it stood in 1999, the period detailed and discussed in Groysberg and Snook's (2007) case study, "Leadership Development at Goldman Sachs." A leadership program based on the peer mentoring strategy is discussed as the most effective alternative for the refocusing and strengthening of the many leaders at the company's increasingly diverse and substantial divisions and departments and their interrelationships with each other.
An examination of more recent events in the company and its leadership's decisions will also be provided, with comment on how the situation might have been -- and could still be -- assisted by the adoption of the specific leadership development program described. It is hoped that this will lead to a better understanding both of the issues that evolved at Goldman Sachs and the importance of leadership development generally.

Program Design

Towards the end of 1999, as the leadership committee at Goldman Sachs was readying themselves for their presentation of their own leadership development program to the bulk of the company's actual leaders, the company was in a fairly hectic state. Growth ha taken place on an exponential basis over the past decade, yet with a major shake-up only five years prior due to heavy investment and capital losses (Groysberg & Snook 2007). There were now literally thousands of people in leadership positions at the company, which had offices and divisions in numerous countries spanning the hemispheres.

Organizing let alone convincing this many people is a task in and of itself, and doing so with a group of leaders -- people who already had authority within the company and most of whom had at least some track record that warranted this authority -- can be all but impossible. Any leadership development strategy employed at the company would have to be immediately empowering and somewhat self-directed if it was to be adopted by the company's "A-players" (HMM 2011). It is for this reason that a mentorship strategy of development that is made an outgrowth of existing peer relationships that exist amongst the company's leaders is the recommended strategy for the deployment of this development plan. With effective initial integration from the members of the leadership committee, the objectives and styles of leadership identified as desirable both implicitly and explicitly by Groysberg &….....

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