Student Essay

5232 Words Jan 20th, 2016 21 Pages
For the exclusive use of Z. Shan, 2015.

JUNE 10, 2013


Wendy Peterson
“Could you bring us the check, please?” Wendy Peterson signaled the waiter, breaking the awkward silence that ended the annual review of one of her direct reports, Fred Wu. On paper, Wu’s performance was impressive. Within eight months of joining the Plano, Texas, office of AccountBack, an accounting software and services company, Wu had signed the region’s largest client and promoted AccountBack’s products and services among the Chinese business community in Plano.
Despite these achievements, Wu’s review ended uncomfortably. Though they’d worked together for a year, Peterson struggled to bridge the
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Wu then stated that, because he was about to become the most successful sales executive in the Plano office, he needed his own sales assistant to answer his phone and perform administrative tasks.
Peterson hoped her face didn’t register her dismay at Wu’s request. Only the most senior salespeople at AccountBack, some of whom juggled more than 30 accounts, had their own sales assistants. The rest of AccountBack’s salespeople shared assistants. What was Wu thinking?
HBS Professor Linda A. Hill and writer Alisa Zalosh prepared this case solely as a basis for class discussion and not as an endorsement, a source of primary data, or an illustration of effective or ineffective management. Although based on real events and despite occasional references to actual companies, this case is fictitious and any resemblance to actual persons or entities is coincidental.
Copyright © 2013 President and Fellows of Harvard College. To order copies or request permission to reproduce materials, call 1-800-545-7685, write Harvard Business Publishing, Boston, MA 02163, or go to This publication may not be digitized, photocopied, or otherwise reproduced, posted, or transmitted, without the

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