The problem is, most firms have narrowly defined practice areas and partners with specialized expertise. These siloed experts are often stars” who have built their reputations and client rosters independently, not by working with peers. What’s more, most firms have grown so large and so fast that their members can’t even knowlet alone trusttheir colleagues around the world.
In Smart Collaboration, Heidi Gardner shows that a much more profitablealbeit difficultpath is to push the firm toward cross-partner collaboration. Gardner, a former McKinsey consultant and Harvard Business School professor, now a fellow at Harvard Law School, has spent over a decade conducting an in-depth study of more than a dozen global professional service firms. In a research tour de force, she brings together time sheet records, financial information, and personnel recordsliterally millions of data pointsto uncover the effect of interdisciplinary teamwork in the professional services field. The result: conclusive proof that collaboration pays, both for employees and for their firms.
But Gardner doesn’t stop with analysis. Moving group by group through the ranks of a typical firm, she offers powerful prescriptions for how leaders can foster collaboration, move to higher-end and higher-margin work, increase client satisfaction, attract and retain top-caliber talent, and improve their bottom line.
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