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Collaboration: How Leaders Avoid the Traps, Build Common Ground, and Reap Big Results Hardcover – April 14, 2009
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About the Author
Morten T. Hansen is a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and INSEAD in France. Previously, he was an associate professor at Harvard Business School, where he taught leadership and general management. In addition to his academic career, Hansen has been a management consultant for a number of years with the Boston Consulting Group. He holds a PhD from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
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Hansen begins by enumerating several collaboration "traps":
-collaborating in hostile territory
-overcollaborating (it is refreshing for an author to suggest that his thesis and the title to his book isn't universally applicable)
-overshooting the potential value
-misdiagnosing the problem
-implementing the wrong solution
He suggests that the solution to these traps is "disciplined collaboration ... the leadership practice of properly assessing when to collaborate (and when not to) and instilling in people both the willingness and ability to collaborate when required"
The three steps in disciplined collaboration are to:
-evaluate opportunities for collaboration
-spot barriers to collaborate
-tailor collaboration solutions
In general, his case for collaboration is that it provides better innovation, better sales, and better operations - all of which can lead to sales growth, cost savings, and asset efficiency.
The four barriers to successful collaboration are:
-not invented here syndrome
The three levers to tear down these barriers are:
-unify people, reduce motivational barriers and get buy-in toward a common goal
-encourage T-shaped management that rewards both independent results and cross-unit contributions.
-create nimble, not bloated networks across organizations that deliver results
Finally the author discusses how you grow to be a collaborative leader.
The cumulative lore established by books such as "Good to Great", "The New How" and "Collaboration" lead to the conclusion that companies need to work harder to engage their employees throughout the company and to encourage greater collaboration at the senior levels of the company as well. Dr. Hansen specifies that "T" type managers are better suited to meet company objectives because they are not just good at meeting the requirements of their own silo but they also reach out across silos to assist others achieve the broader goals.