Summary of Collaborate Smarter, Not Harder

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Collaborate Smarter, Not Harder summary

Editorial Rating



  • Well Structured
  • Concrete Examples


Collaboration is often sold as a universal positive. However, without the proper structure and analysis, collaboration can actually undermine corporate goals. This engaging guide by business professors Rob Cross, Thomas H. Davenport and Peter Gray for the MIT Sloan Management Review will help any reader – whether a junior analyst or a senior manager – to understand not just why but how teams should collaborate. It also provides detailed, real-world examples showing that the right collaboration analysis will yield improvements across several areas, including employee morale, retention and increased productivity. Diagrams and a digestible list-style structure help make the full article a worthwhile read. 

About the Authors

Rob Cross and Thomas H. Davenport are both professors at Babson College. Peter Gray is a business professor at the University of Virginia.


Collaboration makes companies more competitive – but at a cost. 

Collaboration helps companies respond to client needs, adapt to new technology, innovate quickly and otherwise stay relevant. Unfortunately, collaboration often comes at the expense of efficiency. Contacting, incorporating and documenting more voices can bog down projects in additional emails, meetings and phone calls. Technology – and the expectations of instant delivery and response that it creates – has exacerbated the problem. Research shows that responding to questions and messages can divert attention, making it difficult to focus on the task at hand. The work becomes even harder with many platforms to manage; studies show that most companies give their employees an average of nine ways to connect with others. With each employee ...

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