Case Study

Jan van Hasenbroek (A): A “red-pencil” leader at a crossroads

9 pages
June 2020
Reference: IMD-7-2059

Jan Van Hasenbroek, an entrepreneur founder and managing partner of IG&H consulting firm, is in trouble. He is known in his company as the “red pencil” manager for his micromanagement of consultants’ works, often with a red pencil correcting or modifying their presentations. That leadership was once tolerated but it has become increasingly dysfunctional leading to the departure of valued consultants and partners and a drop in the company’s growth. Meanwhile, Jan’s marriage has fallen apart due to his total devotion to his work at the expense of his family. The case raises choices faced by Jan, whether to step back and let someone else to lead IG&H, a company he has devoted his entire career to; or to stay on but with a different leadership behaviour—if he can or willing to make the change. The reader not only has to assess Jan’s current leadership but also recommend an action that is in the interest of IG&H and its growth ambitions.

Learning Objective
  • To use the example of a dysfunctional management behaviour as a provocative vehicle to discuss and raise questions about what effective leadership could mean and what might be some of its fundamental behavioural features.
  • To demonstrate the core idea in the adage “What got you here will probably fail to get you there.” A leadership behaviour for a small, entrepreneurial company (as IG&H was in its early days) will have to evolve as the organization grows into a larger, more complex operation needing to attract and motivate high calibre talents who are hard to attract and easy to lose.
  • To get a closeup view of a leader’s inner drives and emotions as barriers or boosters to his/her effective behaviour.
  • To provide personal insights and pointers touching on the above objectives through the video interview with Jan for case (A).
Entrepreneurial Organization, Entrepreneur, Consultancy, Knowledge Management, Micromanagement, Leadership Dilemma, Work-Family Balance, Individual Behavior
Europe, Netherlands
IG&H, Business Management Services, Consultancy
Field Research
© 2020
Available Languages
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