Thursday, July 10, 2008

Lift Outs: How to Acquire a High-Functioning Team. By: Groysberg, Boris, Abrahams, Robin,
Harvard Business Review,
Dec 2006, Vol. 84, Issue 12

By hiring away whole teams from a competitor, companies can quickly gain capacity without all the headaches of a merger or acquisition. It's a high-risk, high-reward move.

Today, lift outs are increasingly common in many professional-services industries – law, advertising, investment banking, consulting, general management, and even medicine. They enable a quick ramp-up in talent without the logistical and psychological stresses of an acquisition or the sociodynamic challenges of creating teams from scratch. The advantages of long-standing relationships and trust help an experienced team make an impact much faster than could a group of people brought together for the first time.

Boris Groysberg ( is an assistant professor at Harvard Business School in Boston. His most recent HBR article, coauthored with Andrew N. McLean and Nitin Nohria, is "Are Leaders Portable?" (May 2006). Robin Abrahams ( is a research associate at Harvard Business School.

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