Leadership and performance

Leadership must permeate an organization—it's too important to leave only to those with a formal title. Our research delves into the tools, techniques and topics that are essential for leading high performing organizations.

What does it take to build an organization where leadership thrives throughout the ranks? What are the 'hard' and 'soft' levers that leaders can take to inspire people and optimize performance?  From examining hedge fund Bridgewater's culture of 'radical transparency' to unpacking the elements of an innovative consulting firm, from diving into decisions about compensation systems to proposing ways for professional firms to handle sticky succession issues, our research relies on in-depth studies of the ways leaders shape their organization's future.

Ongoing research: Our team is currently investigating the effects of different performance management systems and metrics intended to foster smart collaboration.  If you or your organization wants to participate, please contact Csilla Ilkei, our Research Director at Gardner & Co.

Leadership and performance
PUBLICATION TITLE / Collaboration is One of Your Strategic Pillars – Now What?

In a new article for Modern Lawyer, Dr. Heidi K. Gardner and Csilla Ilkei highlight three situations where injecting smarter collaboration into your mindsets and actions can make a big difference:

  • Launching teams
  • Engaging with clients
  • Bringing on new leaders

To learn tips for each of these key moments, click the article link below.

Source: Modern Lawyer

Year: April 2024


Collaboration is One of Your Strategic Pillars – Now What?
PUBLICATION TITLE / Energizing Hybrid Collaboration

In a conversation with Teresa McQueen, host of the Workplace Perspective podcast, Dr. Heidi K. Gardner outlines three ways that leaders can revitalize hybrid teams: channeling, generating, and multiplying energy.

Source: Workplace Perspective podcast

Year: November 2023

Link: https://workplaceperspective.com/episode-129-energizing-hybrid-collaboration-heidi-k-gardner/

Energizing Hybrid Collaboration
PUBLICATION TITLE / Smarter Collaboration For Human Resources Leaders

Top talent. Motivated employees. Innovative solutions. HR leaders are laser-focused on these outcomes. But how can they ensure the larger organization is, too?
On October 19, 2023, at the Richmond SHRM's 14th Annual Strategic Leadership Conference, Gardner & Co. Insights Director Csilla Ilkei discussed several research-proven approaches across the four vectors of collaboration.

Source: Richmond SHRM

Year: November 2023

Link: https://www.gardnerandco.co/richmond-shrm-event-csilla-ilkei-shares-smarter-collaboration-insights-october-2023/

Smarter Collaboration For Human Resources Leaders
PUBLICATION TITLE / Smarter Collaboration: We Can All Take Control and Enhance Collaboration in the Workplace

In an interactive session hosted by Women in Digital Switzerland, Dr. Heidi K. Gardner explores how women can use smarter collaboration to boost innovation, improve diversity and inclusion, and achieve a deeper sense of purpose at work. 

Source: Women in Digital Switzerland

Year: May 2023

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SS07Y6f5EMA

Smarter Collaboration: We Can All Take Control and Enhance Collaboration in the Workplace
PUBLICATION TITLE / Dr. Heidi K. Gardner Speaks at the University of Idaho’s 2022 Winter Commencement Ceremony

On December 10, 2022, Distinguished Fellow at Harvard Law School and Best-Selling Author Dr. Heidi K. Gardner delivered the commencement speech to more than 550 graduating students at the University of Idaho.

Source: University of Idaho

Year: December 2022

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23-ys3UL7Ms

Dr. Heidi K. Gardner Speaks at the University of Idaho’s 2022 Winter Commencement Ceremony
PUBLICATION TITLE / Four Mistakes You’re Probably Making that Hurt Your Ability to Collaborate

Smarter collaboration produces higher revenue and profit, deeper customer relationships, faster innovation, greater efficiency, and stronger employee engagement. But if team members' differences are not skillfully and consistently managed, they can lead to workplace tension, which creates a whole range of dysfunction and inhibits smarter collaboration. Interviews and surveys with over 2,000 business professionals across sectors and around the globe turned up four common problems that emerge when leaders fail to actively manage diversity. This Fast Company article explores these problems and highlights three ways leaders can overcome them. 

Source: Fast Company

Year: November 2022

Link: https://www.fastcompany.com/90810783/4-mistakes-youre-probably-making-that-hurt-your-ability-to-collaborate

Four Mistakes You’re Probably Making that Hurt Your Ability to Collaborate
PUBLICATION TITLE / Why Smarter Collaboration Should be at the Top of Every Senior Leader's Agenda

Collaboration across functions, business units, and geographies leads to better financial outcomes (revenue and profit) for companies. This excerpt from Smarter Collaboration: A New Approach to Breaking Down Barriers and Transforming Work details how.

Source: CEOWORLD Magazine

Year: October 2022

Link: https://ceoworld.biz/2022/10/10/why-smarter-collaboration-should-be-at-the-top-of-every-senior-leaders-agenda/

Why Smarter Collaboration Should be at the Top of Every Senior Leader
PUBLICATION TITLE / Managers Are Trapped in a Performance-Compassion Dilemma

After two years of turmoil, employees need their managers to show compassion. At the same time, executives expect their managers and their teams to deliver results. Middle managers are often the ones feeling that tension most acutely. How can they cope with these competing pressures? Focus on two sets of actions. First, work to increase the organization's 'compassion capacity' — that is, help equip both senior executives and employees to shoulder more of the burden in delivering compassion so that it doesn't fall entirely on you. Second, work with both executives and employees to lower the perceived pressure of performance demands.

Source: Harvard Business Review

Year: April 2022

Link: https://hbr.org/2022/04/managers-are-trapped-in-a-performance-compassion-dilemma

Managers Are Trapped in a Performance-Compassion Dilemma
PUBLICATION TITLE / Leaders Don't Have to Choose Between Compassion and Performance

Leaders are experiencing extreme demands for compassion at a time when there's no room for compromising on outcomes. As a result, many leaders have fallen into the trap of thinking in terms of a binary choice between compassion or performance. They know that both are essential but are finding it hard to drive performance in a way that also maximizes support of their employees. This dual need for increased compassion and higher performance is hitting while Covid fatigue has employees, leaders, and customers alike running on fumes. This problem of extreme demands isn't going away. To deliver both compassion and performance in a sustainable way, leaders need data, prioritization, setup, and collaboration.

Source: Harvard Business Review

Year: February 2022

Link: https://hbr.org/2022/02/leaders-dont-have-to-choose-between-compassion-and-performance

Leaders Don
PUBLICATION TITLE / Without Trust, There is No Collaboration

The boundaries between companies and industries are blurring; archrivals often become partners. In an article for Harvard Business Manager, Dr. Heidi K. Gardner and Ivan Matviak lay out the necessary ingredients for managers to make this collaboration work. Please note the article is in German.

Source: Harvard Business Manager

Year: May 2021

Link: https://www.manager-magazin.de/harvard/fuehrung/kooperation-mit-der-konkurrenz-ohne-vertrauen-gibt-es-keine-zusammenarbeit-a-a7de2092-0002-0001-0000-000177421313

Without Trust, There is No Collaboration
PUBLICATION TITLE / 7 Strategies for Promoting Collaboration in a Crisis

Research shows that a major determinant of how organizations handle crises like the pandemic is collaboration. In this piece, the authors share their study of how companies handled the Great Recession and offer an in-depth examination of how collaboration made all the difference. They then offer seven strategies that leaders can employ to maximize collaboration in their organizations.

Source: Harvard Business Review

Year: July 2020

Link: https://hbr.org/2020/07/7-strategies-for-promoting-collaboration-in-a-crisis

7 Strategies for Promoting Collaboration in a Crisis
PUBLICATION TITLE / Leadership for Lawyers: Essential Strategies for Law Firm Success (2nd edition)

Lawyers face specific challenges when it comes to leadership. This new edition introduces topics that today's law firm leaders are grappling with, and revisits some prior subjects to bring fresh insights to help firms draw on the full range of capabilities and perspectives that are vital in our fast-changing world.

Source: Globe Business & Law Publishing

Year: 2019


Global Law and Business – http://bit.ly/2NfC2Rg

Amazon – https://amzn.to/2NJdCyu

Gardner & Co
PUBLICATION TITLE / How Smart Succession Planning Can Separate a Law Firm

No longer can firms bury their heads in the sand, hoping that succession planning will sort itself out without firm-wide intervention. Integrative client service incorporates multiple generations and a layering of expertise and helps achieve continuity of service for the client, even when a senior partner moves on. The evidence is clear: Firms that prioritize their succession management strategy set the stage for long-term prosperity for all partners, clients and the firm itself.

Source: The American Lawyer (PDF)

Year: May 2019

Gardner & Co
PUBLICATION TITLE / 10 Steps to Improve Your Law Firm's Succession Planning

This article offers 10 easy-to-digest steps to help professional services firms analyze and uncover current gaps and opportunities in their systematic succession planning practices that is fully aligned with and integrated into their broader business planning and management strategies.

Source: The American Lawyer (PDF)

Year: June 2019

Gardner & Co
PUBLICATION TITLE / Bridgewater Associates

The video-based case offers opportunity to explore the world's largest hedge fund's unusual firm culture of 'radical transparency' that leaders credit with its record breaking performance. It prompts discussion on how and to what extent the practices foster high performance and debate about their associated tradeoffs.

Source: Harvard Business School

Year: May 2013

Link: https://s.hbr.org/2pHT8OK

Gardner & Co
PUBLICATION TITLE / Marshall & Gordon: Designing an Effective Compensation System

To support their new strategy, CEO of PR firm Marshall & Gordon redesigns the compensation system to promote collaboration. The case focuses on re-defining, measuring, and evaluating the consultants' performance. The discussion explores the possibilities and limitations of using financial compensation as a lever to incentivize desired behaviors.

Source: Harvard Business School

Year: March 2012

Link: https://s.hbr.org/36wXrwS

Gardner & Co
PUBLICATION TITLE / Professional Development at DLA Piper – Building the Strength of Global Legal Talent

Structured around five vignettes by associates, the case highlights an important dimension of a leading law firm: professional development and the reward system. It discusses critical elements such as client and technical expertise, mentorship and sponsorship, professional reputation and honest feedback. One of the key takeaways is that aligned expectations, candid and frequent direct feedback by the leaders, and mutual accountability are essential additions to formal processes for career progression.

Source: Harvard Business School

Year: June 2014

Link: https://s.hbr.org/2WJ5a6x

Gardner & Co
PUBLICATION TITLE / Eden McCallum: A Network-Based Consulting Firm

This case about a network-based consulting firm—highly innovative at the time of its founding—demonstrates how the alignment between different organizational facets (strategy, people, culture, etc.) affects leaders' ability to adapt to changes in the competitive landscape.

Source: Harvard Business School

Year: July 2010

Link: https://store.hbr.org/product/eden-mccallum/409060?sku=409060-PDF-ENG

Gardner & Co
PUBLICATION TITLE / Leadership for Lawyers book launch

At the launch of the 'Leadership for Lawyers' book (first edition), Dr. Gardner hosts discussions on various angles of legal leadership. She calls for collaboration as a means to an end: helping leaders to tackle challenges associated with clients and their own talent.

Event: Goodwin Procter: Leadership for Lawyers book release reception

Year: 2016

Link: https://youtu.be/eQ5pzG3kF7I

Gardner & Co