Beyond Collaboration Overload: How to Work Smarter, Get Ahead, and Restore Your Well-Being

Beyond Collaboration Overload: How to Work Smarter, Get Ahead, and Restore Your Well-Being

by Rob Cross
Beyond Collaboration Overload: How to Work Smarter, Get Ahead, and Restore Your Well-Being

Beyond Collaboration Overload: How to Work Smarter, Get Ahead, and Restore Your Well-Being

by Rob Cross


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Named the Best Management Book of 2021 by strategy+business

Named one of "this month's top titles" in the Financial Times in September 2021

Named to the longlist for the 2021 Outstanding Works of Literature (OWL) Award in the Management & Culture category

A plan for conquering collaborative overload to drive performance and innovation, reduce burnout, and enhance well-being.

Most organizations have created always-on work contexts that are burning people out and hurting performance rather than delivering productivity, innovation and engagement. Collaborative work consumes 85% of employees' time and is drifting earlier into the morning, later into the night, and deeper into the weekend.

The dilemma is that we all need to collaborate more to create effective organizations and vibrant careers for ourselves. But conventional wisdom on teamwork and collaboration has created too much of the wrong kind of collaboration, which hurts our performance, health and overall well-being.

In Beyond Collaboration Overload, Babson professor Rob Cross solves this paradox by showing how top performers who thrive at work collaborate in a more purposeful way that makes them 18-24% more efficient than their peers. Good collaborators are distinguished by the efficiency and intentionality of their collaboration—not the size of their network or the length of their workday.

Through landmark research with more than 300 organizations, in-depth stories, and tools, Beyond Collaboration Overload will coach you to reclaim close to a day a week when you:

  • Identify and challenge beliefs that lead you to collaborate too quickly
  • Impose structure in your work to prevent unproductive collaboration
  • Alter behaviors to create more efficient collaboration

It then outlines how successful people invest this reclaimed time to:

  • Cultivate a broad network—not a big one—for innovation and scale
  • Energize others—a strong predictor of high performance
  • Connect with others to reduce micro-stressors and enhance physical and mental well-being

Cross' framework provides relief from the definitive problem of our age—dysfunctional collaboration at the expense of our performance, health and overall well-being.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781647820121
Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press
Publication date: 09/14/2021
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 1,106,664
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Rob Cross is the Edward A. Madden Professor of Global Leadership at Babson College and the cofounder and Chief Research Scientist of the Connected Commons business consortium. For more twenty years, he has studied the underlying networks of effective organizations and the collaborative practices of high performers. Working with more than three hundred organizations and reaching thousands of leaders from the front line to the C-suite, he has identified specific ways to cultivate vibrant, effective networks at all levels of an organization and at any career stage.

Cross has authored six Harvard Business Review articles on practical approaches to enhancing collaboration. He is the coauthor of five books, including The Hidden Power of Social Networks.

You can find more about Rob Cross at

Table of Contents

Part 1 Breaking Free from Collaboration Overload

1 An Amazing Leader Falters 13

2 Why You Need Essential Collaboration 27

3 Challenge Beliefs 41

4 Impose New Structure 65

5 Alter Behaviors to Streamline Collaboration Practices 93

Part 2 Using Your New Freedom to Increase Performance and Well-Being

6 Networks of Successful People 127

7 Energizing Connections 161

8 Thriving in a Connected World 179

Notes 215

Index 217

Acknowledgments 223

About the Author 227

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