Monday, March 25, 2013

Reading :: Collaboration

Collaboration: How Leaders Avoid the Traps, Build Common Ground, and Reap Big Results
By Morten Hansen

Collaboration is a business book based on Hansen's scholarly work in reaching and understanding teams, conducted during his Ph.D. (Stanford) and his professorship (Harvard Business School). His question: "What is the difference between good and bad collaboration?"

Bad collaboration, he tells us in Chapter 1, is "collaboration characterized by high friction and a poor focus on results." In contrast, he focuses on effective, disciplined companywide collaboration (not, he hastens to add, collaboration outside a company). And "disciplined collaboration can be summed up in one phrase: the leadership practice of properly assessing when to collaborate (and when not to) and instilling in people both the willingness and the ability to collaborate when required." Furthermore, disciplined collaboration makes it possible to "have it both ways—performance from decentralized work and performance from collaborative work."

Throughout the book, Hansen walks through the dos and don'ts of collaboration, pitched to leaders in large companies. It's a solid book, full of not just advice but also matrices and structured worksheets. I imagine it would be very helpful for those readers.

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