Finding Allies and Building Alliances

By USDR.

While temperatures across the nation continue to sizzle in these waning days of summer, the political landscape in Washington remains frozen in a morass of partisan bickering and polarized positioning. Is there an answer anywhere on the horizon? In his new book, Mike Leavitt, former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services and three-time governor of Utah, provides a practical approach based on proven, tested collaboration principles to solve critical problems in the public and private sectors. Finding Allies, Building Alliances chronicles Leavitt’s unique abilities to bring competing parties together to forge solutions that cannot be accomplished by individuals alone.

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“I observed firsthand Mike Leavitt’s skill at bringing people together and building coalitions in government, politics, and international affairs,” wrote Robert B. Zoellick, former president of the World Bank and past U.S. Deputy Secretary of State. “Finding Allies, Building Alliances explains how successful managers cooperate to achieve goals and get things done in an environment brimming with complexity, uncertainty, and a multiplicity of actors.”

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Written in conjunction with his former Chief of Staff, Rich McKeown, Leavitt reviews their first-hand experiences building high-level collaborations in the public and private sectors. In Finding Allies, Building Alliances: 8 Elements that Bring—and Keep—People Together (Jossey-Bass; 978-1-118-24792-1; September 2013; $29.95; e-book available), Leavitt and McKeown help senior executives, managers, and anyone who needs to find solutions to complex problems by introducing 8 elements that will empower any leader to foster and maintain an effective alliance venture.

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Clayton M. Christensen, Harvard business professor and author of the book’s foreword, writes: “When we succeed at a difficult task, too many of us learn that the hammer that worked once is the tool to be used in every situation. In contrast, Governor Leavitt, in forging alliances as different as cleaning air at the Grand Canyon; creating Western Governors University; and the agreements on how insurance companies will record health care data in a standard format, followed very different paths. His theory is contingent-specific. He articulates the different situations you might find yourself; and then tells you the path you need to follow to be successful in each. The book is filled with ‘if-then’ statements.”

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Finding Allies, Building Alliances shows how well structured collaborations can not only solve problems but can also boost competitiveness and market position. “I’ve seen first-hand how collaboration is crucial to success–not only within an organization, but between multiple organizations,” said Google chairman Eric Schmidt. “Leavitt and McKeown provide a clear, simple roadmap for how to approach collaboration and the necessary elements for groups and people working together to succeed.”

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About the Authors

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Mike Leavitt (Salt Lake City, Utah) is the founder and chairman of Leavitt Partners, where he has advised clients since 2009 in the practice areas of health care, environment and trade. He served as the Secretary of Health and Human Services in the Cabinet of President George W. Bush (2005-2009); led the Environmental Protection Agency (2003-2005); and served three terms as governor of Utah (1993-2003). His managerial accomplishments include leading the implementation of the Medicare Part D prescription drug program, which serves 43 million seniors; collaborating with other governors to found Western Governor’s University, a non-profit online university system; and spearheading an innovative design-build system to revamp the Utah highway network ahead of schedule and under budget.

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Rich McKeown (Salt Lake City, Utah) is president, CEO and co-founder of Leavitt Partners, where he leads teams that help clients enter new markets, enhance product value, and navigate regulatory systems. During his tenure as Chief of Staff at Health and Human Services, he managed the day-to-day activities of 67,000 employees with a budget of $750 billion and led landmark food safety negotiations between the FDA and the Chinese government.

All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.

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