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Smart Collaboration: How Professionals and Their Firms Succeed by Breaking Down Silos
Heidi K. Gardner
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Format: Hardcover, 256pp.
Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press
Pub. Date: January 3, 2017
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Item No: 9781633691100
Description and Reviews
From The Publisher:
Not all collaboration is smart. Make sure you do it right.
Professional service firms face a serious challenge. Their clients increasingly need them to solve complex problems—everything from regulatory compliance to cybersecurity, the kinds of problems that only teams of multidisciplinary experts can tackle.
Yet most firms have carved up their highly specialized, professional experts into narrowly defined practice areas, and collaborating across these silos is often messy, risky, and expensive. Unless you know why you’re collaborating and how to do it effectively, it may not be smart at all. That’s especially true for partners who have built their reputations and client rosters independently, not by working with peers.
In Smart Collaboration, Heidi K. Gardner shows that firms earn higher margins, inspire greater client loyalty, attract and retain the best talent, and gain a competitive edge when specialists collaborate across functional boundaries. Gardner, a former McKinsey consultant and Harvard Business School professor now lecturing at Harvard Law School, has spent over a decade conducting in-depth studies of numerous global professional service firms. Her research with clients and the empirical results of her studies demonstrate clearly and convincingly that collaboration pays, for both professionals and their firms.
But Gardner also offers powerful prescriptions for how leaders can foster collaboration, move to higher-margin work, increase client satisfaction, improve lateral hiring, decrease enterprise risk, engage workers to contribute their utmost, break down silos, and boost their bottom line.
With case studies and real-world insights, Smart Collaboration delivers an authoritative case for the value of collaboration to today’s professionals, their firms, and their clients and shows you exactly how to achieve it.
“Drawing on deep analysis and case studies across organizations, Gardner has turned a tricky topic—how to collaborate and why—into a set of clear prescriptions.”
—Scott McDonald, President and CEO, Oliver Wyman Group
“Smart Collaboration makes a bulletproof case for why collaborating provides the best results for clients and just makes good business sense.”
—Jami McKeon, Chair, Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP
“A remarkable blend of theory and practice, Gardner’s work on collaboration is at once rigorous and actionable. Backed by extensive empirical research, her book offers crucial guidance for professionals who want to deepen their relationships with clients, improve the service they provide, and increase their profitability—and that should be all professionals.”
—Richard Susskind, coauthor, The Future of the Professions
“In Smart Collaboration, Gardner uses relevant case studies, sharp analysis, and straightforward writing to make this important point: well-structured collaboration among a firm’s professionals is the path to a more interesting, satisfying, and profitable future for those talented people.”
—J. Michael McGuire, CEO, Grant Thornton LLP
“Gardner’s extensive and robust research, coupled with her trademark humor and warmth, make for a compelling insight into the myths surrounding collaboration while also offering some very tangible solutions to how collaboration can and should be embraced to most powerfully serve clients.”
—Matthew Layton, Global Managing Partner, Clifford Chance LLP
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About the Author
Heidi K. Gardner is a Distinguished Fellow at Harvard Law School’s Center on the Legal Profession, where she serves as a Lecturer on Law and Faculty Chair of the Accelerated Leadership Program. She was previously a Harvard Business School professor, McKinsey consultant, and Fulbright scholar. Gardner has lived and worked on four continents. Find Heidi Gardner at hls.harvard.edu/faculty/directory/11330/Gardner and linkedin.com/in/heidi-k-gardner-ab5b825, and follow on Twitter @heidigardnerphd
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