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Beyond Collaboration Overload

How to Work Smarter, Get Ahead, and Restore Your Well-Being

Rob Cross


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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.

Harvard Business Review Press, 9781647820121, 256pp.

Publication Date: September 14, 2021

About the Author

Rob Cross, the Edward A. Madden Professor of Global Leadership at Babson College, is a renowned thinker, writer, and speaker whose category-defying ideas have influenced fields as diverse as organizational design, change, collaboration, teams, agility, innovation, and talent optimization. He is the cofounder and Research Director of the Connected Commons business consortium.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: