Heidi K. Gardner – Distinguished Fellow, Harvard Law Schoo

Topical keynote Speakers & Experts -

How do some rare companies unleash the power and passion of their employees and their broader networks to achieve tremendous innovation and growth, while many organizations’ know-how is trapped in silos?

What are the critical mindsets and behaviors in the board, executive suite and front lines that unlock expertise across the organization to tackle complex, high-value issues and opportunities?

How do leaders avoid the traps that turn well-intentioned collaboration into overload, underperformance, or biased decision-making?

How do executives build the systems and culture that drive sustainably higher performance while nurturing inclusivity and employee wellbeing?

About Heidi

Dr. Heidi K. Gardner is a sought-after advisor, bestselling author, Harvard professor, and former McKinsey consultant who has dedicated two decades to finding science-backed, empirically tested, pragmatic ways to foster smarter collaboration.

A Distinguished Fellow at Harvard Law School and former Professor at Harvard Business School, Heidi’s work focuses on leadership and collaboration in professional service firms. Her 2017 book, Smart Collaboration: How Professionals and Their Firms Succeed by Breaking Down Silos, is a Washington Post bestseller.

Her 2022 follow-up book, Smarter Collaboration: A New Approach to Breaking Down Barriers and Transforming Work (co-authored with Ivan A. Matviak, 2022), lays out a pragmatic action plan for companies to collaborate effectively. Along with her team at Gardner & Co, Heidi works with boards, executive teams, and senior leaders to boost performance by embedding the principles and practices of agile cross-silo collaboration.

Her research received the Academy of Management’s prize for Outstanding Practical Implications for Management and has featured in major media outlets worldwide.

Topics & Talks

Smarter Collaboration: Breaking Down Silos to Boost Profits, Innovation and Engagement
From market volatility to ESG to capitalizing on the metaverse, leaders now face more complex challenges and opportunities than ever.

Tackling these multi-faceted issues requires problem solving from diverse minds across the company and its ecosystem – but most of the time, the expertise is trapped in silos rather than harnessed for success.

Drawing on a decade of award-winning, data-backed research at Harvard and firsthand work with hundreds of global companies, Dr. Heidi Gardner shows leaders how to get people working across functions and geographies – and with outside partners – to drive innovation, delight customers and engage their top talent.

Sharing insights from her Washington Post bestselling book “Smart Collaboration” (Harvard Business Review Press, 2017) and its new sequel “Smarter Collaboration” (Harvard Business Review Press, November 2022), the highly interactive keynotes, workshops and advisory meetings help organizations troubleshoot thorny collaboration challenges like misaligned incentives, collaboration overload and unintended consequences on diversity and inclusion.

Participants walk away with clear, pragmatic ideas for capturing the business and talent advantages of smarter collaboration.

Smarter Collaboration: Leading and Thriving through Turbulent Times

Instability and extreme pressure are inevitable parts of the business landscape. That’s when leaders especially need their people to join forces, apply their unique knowledge and skills and create innovative ways for overcoming the issue at hand – what Harvard’s Dr. Heidi Gardner calls Smarter Collaboration.

But the irony is that the stress of factors like political uncertainty, market shocks or digital dislocation often forces people to retreat into defensive mindsets and behaviors.

Dr. Gardner’s extensive research and experience with hundreds of organizations across the globe shows that during a crisis people typically defer to authorities, conform, and opt for safe solutions – the antithesis of smarter collaboration.

But data-backed strategies do exist for embracing collaboration and its full range of benefits – including higher revenue and profit, deeper customer relationships, and a happier workforce – during the times it is most needed.

Hear these game-changing ideas from Dr. Gardner, an award-winning speaker, bestselling author, and former McKinsey consultant. Offered in keynotes, workshops, or advisory meetings, her engagements help participants come up with approaches that are customized for their organization’s specific market, needs and challenges.

Profits, People and Purpose: Smarter Collaboration for Engagement and Performance

As much as enlightened leaders know the way to optimize performance is by engaging their talent, the pressures of today’s workplaces often create a task-focused, productivity-driven relationship between organizations and their people.

In her bestselling book “Smart Collaboration” (Harvard Business Review Press, 2017), Dr. Heidi K. Gardner shows how companies can resolve this paradox: they get diverse people to work together across organizational silos – and with outside partners – to tackle higher-value issues and solutions, playing to their unique strengths and deriving greater meaning from their work.

This more engaged workforce then generates higher revenues and profits, improved customer satisfaction and faster innovation. Drawing on psychology, neuroscience and data-backed analytics, Dr. Gardner’s work provides a framework for leaders to address the whole organization – boosting productivity and inclusion, while preventing over-commitment and burnout.

Having lived and worked on four continents, Dr. Gardner is well-equipped to lead keynotes, workshops, or advisory meetings that address the cross-cultural nuances of designing solutions that optimize profits, people and purpose.

Feedback from others

Gardner provide leaders with a clear guide on making smarter collaboration happen. It’s full of tips on today’s most pressing topics, including hybrid working, inclusion, diversity and equity, and the role of technology and analytics. This is a must-read for any business leader.

Nhlamu Dlomu, Global Head of People, KPMG International

Everyone talks about collaboration but relatively few people actually know how to do effectively. Gardner and Matviak have written the go-to guide for doing collaboration right. Their use cases for smarter collaboration will resonate deeply with any business leader who’s seeking to rev up innovation, profitability and employee engagement.

Gunjan Kedia, Vice Chairman, U.S. Bank