Tip of the Week #57                     Tip Index

Go to the Prior Tip Risk Management: Concepts and Guidance
Go to the Next Tip Real Options: Managing Strategic Investment in an Uncertain World
Return to MaxValue Home Page

The McKinsey Way
Using the Techniques of the World's Top Strategic Consultants to Help You and Your Business

by Ethan M. Raisel, 1998, McGraw-Hill, 187 p., hardcover.

My initial impression, after receipt of this book, was that it appeared light and superficial.  I was wrong.  The McKinsey Way contains numerous good insights to consulting and project management. I recommend this book to (1) management consultants, both external and internal, (2) those aspiring to be consultants, (3) those working with or hiring consultants, (4) project managers and others working with a teams of people.  In other words, this book should appeal broadly.   Those interested in management consulting will be especially interested to read about McKinsey culture and practices.

Following are samplings of the contents.  My interest and emphasis, of course, is on ideas useful in decision-making.

"MECE." The hallmark of problem-solving at McKinsey is that every analysis is decomposed such that the issues are:

This sounds like the requirement of chance
events used in decision analysis. Chance event
outcomes, too, must be

Initial Hypothesis.  McKinsey teams usually work from an inital hypothesis. Then they work to rigorously prove or disprove the hypothesis. Data and analysis are everything, and this makes up for any (intial) lack of industry- or company-specific knowledge. Trust your gut, but verify and verify.  Test the hypothesis to destruction.

No business problem is immune to the power of fact-based analysis. (p. 25)

Effective Communications.  The keys to effective presentations, memos, phone calls, etc. are: brevity, thoroughness and structure.   One message per chart.

If your presentation is sloppy and muddled, your audience will think that your thinking is also sloppy and muddled. (p. 106)

—John Schuyler, June 1999

Copyright 1999 by John R. Schuyler. All rights reserved. Permission to copy with reproduction of this notice.