When Senior Managers Won’t Collaborate

by Heidi K. Gardner

TODAY’S PROFESSIONAL SERVICES FIRMS face a conundrum. As clients have globalized and confronted more-sophisticated technological, regulatory, economic, and environmental demands, they’ve sought help on increasingly complex problems. To keep up, most top-tier firms have created or acquired narrowly defined practice areas and encouraged partners to specialize. As a result, their collective expertise has been distributed across more and more people, places, and practice groups. The only way to address clients’ most complex issues, then, is for specialists to work together across the boundaries of their expertise.

When they do, my research shows, their firms earn higher margins, inspire greater ...

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