Collaboration is essential. But without knowing how to do it effectively, collaboration itself is hurting employee performance and well-being.
Through quantitative research in more than 300 organizations and more than 500 in-depth interviews in the past decade, we have gained a very detailed understanding of the networks of high-performing men and women.
We identified people at all levels and roles who create enormous impact while, amazingly, spending the least amount of time on collaborative tasks. They produce innovative solutions, execute work efficiently and thrive in their careers.
What are these successful people doing that the rest of us are missing?
Here’s how it works. Time on meetings, calls, email and other collaborative work has risen by 50% in the past 10 years. Most people spend 85% of their week in collaborative work. Our research shows more effective people reduce collaborative overload and regain time by doing three things:
- Challenge beliefs by understanding ways struggles are self-imposed.
- Impose structure by relentlessly focusing on priorities and creating rules for interactions.
- Alter behaviors by using most efficient communication channels and setting network norms.
People can gain back 18-24% of collaborative time by making just 3 or 4 small shifts.
But freeing up time isn’t the end goal. What people do with the reclaimed time is the differentiator. Rather than repeating the practices that create overload, more effective people invest in high-impact network connections in three ways:
- Enable scale by mobilizing a broad network and key opinion leaders.
- Create contexts of engagement with pull not push.
- Prioritize renewal with networks for purpose and well-being.
As time and energy are given to high-value collaboration and connections, people become less overwhelmed, more effective—and enjoy a sense of well-being in work and life.
Harvard Business Review
Apply the Network Strategy
Break the cycle of endless, inefficient collaboration and replace it with the network practices of high performers.
Through customized keynotes, leadership development programs and off-sites, plus high-tech and high-touch courses and tools, Rob offers practical guidance for individual and team success and for scaling collaborative capability in organizations.
Beyond Collaboration Overload: How to Work Smarter, Get Ahead, and Restore Your Well-Being
A product of over a decade of study, this book reveals the hidden practices of today’s more successful leaders. First, they engage in ways that buy back 18-24% of time. Then, they invest that time collaboratively in ways that enable them to scale their accomplishments and avoid de-railing traps.