Case Study

War for management talent in China: LEOX Design Partnership

4 pages
December 2007
Reference: IMD-3-1879

This case is part of the suite of teaching materials which employs China as an illustration of the managerial implications resulted from the so-called War for Talent, and is intended to generate insights into “how to best play the talent game” in China, or elsewhere. We aim to generate an interactive and rich class discussion of the issues raised among seasoned business practitioners, by adopting a variety of interesting teaching formats: an opening note, four cases, an “appraisal exercise” and a video. In particular, this case features a private venture which is a start-up in a niche business that is still in its infancy in China – architectural lighting design services. In 2005, Dr Lei Fu returned to China to set up this design house with the dream of becoming a global leader. However, with an almost complete absence of seasoned talent in this business throughout China, Dr Fu had to source an experienced project manager from Europe. Within two years, LEOX Design has gained an international reputation. Riding on the company’s initial success, Dr Fu now needs to hire more management talent, with overseas experience and strategic thinking, to turn his dream into reality. Dr Fu knows that while finding people with the characters he wants is difficult enough; finding people who know both business and architectural lighting design is going to prove even more challenging. He has little choice, therefore, but to make some important strategic decisions as to how he will develop the managerial capabilities the company so badly needs.

Learning Objective

Among the critical issues in talent management to be addressed in this suite of teaching materials, the following are the most central for the learning of class participants: Since sizing up potential candidates is the first and most fundamental step of talent management, what characteristics should a business leader look for to meet the competency requirements today and to prepare for the future? What would be some creative and feasible practices to source, attract, develop and retain management talent?

Human Resources, Leadership Succession, Talent Management
© 2007
Available Languages
Related material
Teaching note, Video
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