Expand your horizons with this summary of the book "Smart Collaboration". This summary aims to help you innovate the ideas of your firm and value the individual potential of each person.
Why solve it on your own if teamwork can be much more efficient? Collaboration can achieve better results for a company. But not every collaboration is smart.
For this, Heidi K. Gardner defined the concept of Intelligent Collaboration.
This practice can be applied in any business and guarantees the trust and loyalty of the client and its employees.
Are you interested in learning more? Then follow today's summary of why and how intelligent collaboration can bring better results for your company.
"Smart Collaboration" is a work written by Heidi K. Gardner with the intention of showing how professionals can leverage the success of their companies.
Published in 2017 by Harvard Business Review Press, "Smart Collaboration" has 8 chapters and made it to the best-selling list of the Washington Post.
Heidi K. Gardner, Ph. D., has lived and worked on four continents, gaining experience by working for big names such as McKinsey & Co. and Fullbright Scholar. She has taught at Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School Executive Education.
Her published works sum over 60 chapters and articles in newspapers. In addition, she has been named Next Generation Business Thinker by Thinkers50.
Today she is a partner of Harvard Law School's Center and has a chair in the Accelerated Leadership Program.
Got it? Now let's get down to business!
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An intelligent collaboration refers more to the means of a purpose than to the purpose itself. It highlights the individual capacity of each member and their ability to deliver a quality product.
In addition, it analyzes how these members can act as a group to deliver an innovative project, dealing with dense and complex problems.
Smart collaboration is not about you delivering more products to the customer; it's about providing new types of products and quality.
Stimulating teamwork is neither easy nor cheap. The company leader is committed to presenting the benefits of collaboration in a specific and concrete way. In turn, you will have more consistent results and professional success for each individual on your team.
But how can a leader implement intelligent collaboration? What are the challenges for the company to embrace collaboration? And how can each individual contribute effectively?
In this chapter, Heidi Gardner focuses on what business leaders think about the challenges facing their companies: improving the process of their company and, as a result, generating better results.
Heidi says collaboration is a significant factor that benefits both the financial and the associates of the company. It introduces the four key results of intelligent collaboration:
Collaboration is associated with better financial results for the companies. Collaborating generates a higher profit return for old and new service providers and aims to improve customer service.
By improving the quality of service through collaboration, Heidi demonstrates a long-term result: customer reliability at your service.
The more partners serve a client, the longer the client will remain loyal to the company, strengthening the corporate-client relationship.
Collaboration leads to better (and more innovative) results and more useful services for the customer, ensuring long-term benefits for them. Innovation happens most when experts work in teams.
The author says that not every problem needs a new solution, but most solutions can be adapted to a specific customer problem.
The practice of collaboration provides better supervision to your co-workers, thereby reducing the risks of misconduct and individuality.
An example of this is the "lone wolf" partner, who is only interested in maintaining the relationships of his clients only and only under his own control.
Gardner, finally, says that benefits only flow if customers are delighted by the values the team provides.
Collaboration not only makes people feel at ease but is also a "self-fulfilling prophecy":
Many companies compete to hire the most experienced professionals, but few of them are well equipped to adopt lateral hiring (in which the company's talent can jump from one department to another).
That's good for both sides, yeah:
Collaboration ensures that these side contracts are successful and productive. For this, Heidi Gardner explains the stages of how to integrate successful lateral hiring, among them:
For the Millennials generation, collaboration can be seen as an opportunity for empowerment. They expect to be involved in all aspects of the company and are motivated to face challenges. In general, they also value and seek a personal-professional balance.
Note: Don't confuse balance with stabilization in your career. Generation Y seeks to balance the sides of their lives so they can work harder and harder to reach new heights faster and faster.
How can a leader improve the performance of a Millennial within his company?
Companies may not be able to hold everyone. But treating them as friends and having a sincere and honest relationship can make your former employees or clients develop a sense of loyalty to the collaboration.
Some of the essential factors of a collaboration that help maintain this perspective are:
This type of employee is excellent in what he does and has a vast knowledge of the area he works at. However, he does not usually get involved or seek to develop on issues that are not specifically related to his field.
The author makes it clear that if you are one of these, her intention is to make you change your mind.
Heidi says that solo specialists who (systematically) take their partners to their field of work tend to have a significant growth in the following year. And even more so for partners who are not part of your area.
Such action reduces, for example, the cumulative workload. And it also increases the possibilities for innovation on a certain idea.
Gardner brings strategies on how to help these professionals achieve more benefits by breaking down barriers that prevent them from working proactively as a team:
These employees understand that teamwork is the right way to build a dense portfolio.
Three characteristics that we can identify in an experienced employee are:
With these requirements, this professional is capable of:
A rainmaker shares his opinions and experiences. And it is undoubtedly a great business to ensure a successful work with a larger number of teammates.
The contributor focuses on the positive, negative, and the way a member operates within the team. While an experienced employee sends work, the contributor receives work.
In this aspect, some contributors tend to keep their heads down and unravel the work within their practices. But when they deliver their best, their price is priceless.
A contributor can devise effective strategies to reduce costs, increase benefits, and reduce time to return on investment for collaboration.
To this, Heidi K. Gardner exemplifies two types of strategy that this type of employee can adopt:
But how can leaders help a person benefit from a contributor's advantages in the company? In her book, Gardner gives tips, some of them are:
If you are the leader of the company, then this overview is for you. Or if you want to be one, Heidi Gardner will explain to you how to make it happen.
Can you imagine that person who gathers all the "tribes" and makes everything happen? Who's not afraid to take risks and try new opportunities? This is the behavior of the great ringmaster.
The ringmaster is the person who runs the show: he gathers all the people of the company and directs them to the same goal. For this, Gardner says how you can improve the performance of your team:
It is based on the measurement of a certain company group in order to align the members in the same direction. Gardner says it is necessary to establish a general strategy for the company and allow each individual to establish his or her own objective.
Then, measure each other's collaborative behavior and avoid being inflexible. In this way, you can have consistent results for the collaborative culture.
Take the company's objective to the employee's work, show that his work has importance and applicability to the real purpose of the company.
Finally, use and enjoy the facilities of technology to organize goals and help keep everyone aligned.
Transparency: using the online platform allows other team members to clearly see the company's objectives.
A bad example of compensation causes people to accumulate work and stimulates competition between members. Besides, Gardner says changing this system isn't an easy job.
And it is a fact that giving value to your employee's work is a good way to ensure a good performance in the team. You can engage your employees by adopting a meritocratic system, for example.
But know that the change process is not a simple process, and should be applied to the company slowly (within 1 year, for example), with the expenses properly planned.
These rewards make the job more worthwhile than a salary: keep your team happy.
We already know quite well how collaboration can work within the company. But what about from the client's point of view?
In the last chapter of the book, Heidi explains that, in general, customers attach great importance to quality collaboration. Besides, they deeply value the proximity of an external advisor to the firm and the product.
But don't think that pretending to know everything will convince customers to buy your product: they don't like this pretext. You must connect to their reality, as well as bring them to yours.
But they can't always see the benefits of collaboration, and (guess what?) it's your job to make them understand.
There are a number of advantages that collaboration can offer. In her work, Heidi explains each of the following benefits:
If your company is like any other, then you have an environment formed by great professionals, creative and intelligent.
If you embrace intelligent collaboration, then you have a team of great professionals aligned to expand your horizons, innovate, work as a team, and earn customer loyalty.
Lastly, Gardner quotes a phrase (much said) throughout her book, which serves as inspiration for people who want better results but don't want to change:
"What got them here won't get them there." (What brought you here won't take you there.)
Jim Collins and Jerry Porras, authors of the book "Built to Last", discovered that most visionary companies didn't start with a revolutionary idea that made them successful right at the start. In fact, they got off to a slow start and, over time, managed to dominate their markets.
Brené Brown, in "Dare to Lead", says that a leader must take responsibility for recognizing the potential of people and their ideas and encouraging them to develop that potential. He knows that the true power is the one shared with all.
John C. Maxwell, on the other hand, in "Leadership Gold", says that the best leaders are those who know how to listen. Listeners know what's going on because they're on the lookout. They learn better than others because they absorb information from various places.
In addition to understanding the concepts of intelligent collaboration, it is essential to understand what a leader should be.
To increase the productivity of the company, the leader must leave his expectations well defined from the moment of hiring, give honest and objective feedback to his employees and maintain a positive and realistic interpersonal communication.
A good leader should be concerned with nurturing trust between his team and him. For this, you can define objectives for your team aligned with the company's purpose in a concrete way.
And not least, a good leader must think like a client. Such a requirement results in better and more varied types of service that meet even the most complex problems of the customer.
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