The McKinsey Mind: Understanding and Implementing the Problem-Solving Tools and Management Techniques of the World's Top Strategic Consulting Firm Info

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The groundbreaking follow-up to the international
bestseller­­a hands-on guide to putting McKinsey techniques to
work in your organization

McKinsey & Company is the most
respected and most secretive consulting firm in the world, and business
readers just can't seem to get enough of all things McKinsey. Now, hot
on the heels of his acclaimed international bestseller The McKinsey
Way
, Ethan Rasiel brings readers a powerful new guide to putting
McKinsey concepts and skills into action­­The McKinsey
Mind
. While the first book used case studies and anecdotes from
former and current McKinseyites to describe how "the firm" solves the
thorniest business problems of their A-list clients, The McKinsey
Mind
goes a giant step further. It explains, step-by-step, how to
use McKinsey tools, techniques and strategies to solve an array of core
business problems and to make any business venture more successful.


Designed to work as a stand-alone guide or together with The
McKinsey Way
, The McKinsey Mind follows the same critically
acclaimed style and format as its predecessor. In this book authors
Rasiel and Friga expand upon the lessons found in The McKinsey
Way
with real-world examples, parables, and easy-to-do exercises
designed to get readers up and running.


Average Ratings and Reviews
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3.73

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Reviews for The McKinsey Mind: Understanding and Implementing the Problem-Solving Tools and Management Techniques of the World's Top Strategic Consulting Firm:

3

May 16, 2009

I have a Master's Degree in industrial-organizational psychology and am working on a Ph.D. I say this so you will know where I am coming from in this review. This book is filled with jargon that appears to be unique to the McKinsey firm. Much of the book seems to be an advertisement for the firm, indicating that anyone who works for this firm is a superhero in the business world, and only the absolute best of the best (reminiscent of Top Gun) would ever be chosen. I do believe that there is I have a Master's Degree in industrial-organizational psychology and am working on a Ph.D. I say this so you will know where I am coming from in this review. This book is filled with jargon that appears to be unique to the McKinsey firm. Much of the book seems to be an advertisement for the firm, indicating that anyone who works for this firm is a superhero in the business world, and only the absolute best of the best (reminiscent of Top Gun) would ever be chosen. I do believe that there is wisdom to be gained, but the book is pretty vague about the "how" which makes lessons difficult to apply to the real world. I guess the only thing one can do is be the very best business school graduate and go work there. Of course if you do that you can expect to work 90 hours per week because, according to the author, this is the culture of the firm. ...more
2

Nov 15, 2012

This book (which I keep calling "the Minkey Mind" after Peter Seller's character in the Pink Panther) is an illuminating view into the brainwashing and McKinsey-speak that many of America's CEOs and consultants spout without much forethought. While McKinsey's "scientific" approach to problem-solving (break it down into pieces, come up with a hypothesis, test your assumptions) can sound yawningly trite, there are a few McKinseyisms that are worth being aware of. One is MECE ("mee-cee"), for This book (which I keep calling "the Minkey Mind" after Peter Seller's character in the Pink Panther) is an illuminating view into the brainwashing and McKinsey-speak that many of America's CEOs and consultants spout without much forethought. While McKinsey's "scientific" approach to problem-solving (break it down into pieces, come up with a hypothesis, test your assumptions) can sound yawningly trite, there are a few McKinseyisms that are worth being aware of. One is MECE ("mee-cee"), for Mutually Exclusive, Collectively Exhaustive, a way of looking at a problem or issue in terms of the ensemble of sub-issues that must be resolved. Another is the McKinsey interview style for data-gathering, and a third is the McKinsey presentation style ("buy-in" as they put it), which emphasizes conclusions first, supporting evidence second, hypotheses third. The importance of charts and tables and an emphasis on "data" is also a big deal in McKinseyland.

In an era of flat, social enterprises, where gamification, social networking and hyperconnected mobile free-agents serve as the "glue" connecting clients, partners and employees, "the McKinsey Way" often sounds like a remnant from another century. (The book was written at the end of the 1990s.) It is scary to think that so many McKinsey consultants, having wreaked so much damage on corporate America (Enron, anyone?) still go around believing this stuff. Still, a good insight into the McKinsey school of thinking which emphasizes dry rigor and a Platonic ideal of business over messy day-to-day realities of employees falling sick and having affairs at the most inconvenient of moments...

http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2012/10/2... ...more
4

Apr 22, 2011

Worth reading. Especially if you are in consulting. I like the beginning of the book especially, and will be turning back to some of those pages for reference.

Thinking logically
The book starts strong by introducing "MECE: Mutually Exclusive Collectively Exhaustive." I use it often in my teams. Think of it as building a decision tree, where you cover every option, and none are overlapping. Each branch in the tree also has more MECE sub-branches. When deciding or investigating something, draw the Worth reading. Especially if you are in consulting. I like the beginning of the book especially, and will be turning back to some of those pages for reference.

Thinking logically
The book starts strong by introducing "MECE: Mutually Exclusive Collectively Exhaustive." I use it often in my teams. Think of it as building a decision tree, where you cover every option, and none are overlapping. Each branch in the tree also has more MECE sub-branches. When deciding or investigating something, draw the tree on a whiteboard, and walk everyone through the options, and sub-tree options until you have a decision, or clear actions to take. Very logical. Be sure to encourage other people to contribute to the branches, and if you are leading it, ideally you team will volunteer the branches, and then they have more commitment to the options.

Or, as Wikipedia says:

[MECE] says that when data from a category is desired to be broken into subcategories, the choice of subcategories should be
1. collectively exhaustive -- i.e., the set of all subcategories, taken together, should fully characterize the larger category of which the data are part ("no gaps")
2. mutually exclusive -- i.e., no subcategory should represent any other subcategory ("no overlaps")

This is desirable for the purpose of analysis: mutual exclusivity avoids the risk of double counting information, and collective exhaustion avoids the risk of overlooking information.


Two areas for MECE thinking are in logic-trees and issue trees.

Logic trees help you identify components of a problem. Start at the 20,000 foot view and move progressively downward. You may want to build multiple trees, for instance by business unit (organizational hierarchy) and functionally (production, sales, marketing, etc.) to see which leads you to the next step, the hypothesis.

Form a hypothesis of what component of the logic tree may be causing the problem. Run it by the Quick and Dirty Test: ask what assumptions you are making that must be true. Are any false? If it passes the QDT, gather data and do analysis to disprove it. This is the same as the scientific method. If you fail to disprove it, you may be on to something. Predict what could happen if the identified root cause was changed.

Issue trees let you rigorously test the hypothesis. They are different from logic trees. Logic trees are a hierarchical grouping of elements. Issue trees are the series of questions or issues that must be addressed to support or disprove a hypothesis. It becomes you roadmap for analysis.

Presenting
Present with the conclusion at the start. This was a good lesson. Do not use inductive reasoning to build up from details into a specific conclusion for your audience. They may already agree with it. You would then waste their time. Instead make you conclusion, and progressively drill into details, broadly covering each level before drilling down further. Stop/skip forward if they do not need the convincing. (A refresher on inductive/deductive reasoning).

Presentations are all about getting buy-in. It is important to "pre-wire" the meeting so that there are no surprises, and people already know your conclusions. The act of pre-wiring will identify gaps you need to work on, or build allies for you proposal.

Interviewing clients/stakeholders is a common activity I have done at ThoughtWorks. The authors advised scheduling time with people, and sending them an agenda. This lowers their apprehension of why consultants want to talk to them. Also at the end, during small talk before you walk out, ask "is there any thing else we did not cover that you think we should?" You've built rapport by now. Their answer can uncover important, previously unmentioned issues.


Note: as a software engineer, I appreciate the MECE thinking style for its logic. Also, it is the exact way we approach performance tuning an application. Think about the logic tree of slow spots. Build a hypothesis. Test it by profiling the running program under load. Let the data of time spent in each component show the root cause. ...more
3

Aug 23, 2018

A superficial overview of a superficial process. This is a kind of dated overview of the 1990s McKinsey management consultant, still used by big dumb companies to some extent. There's a bit of obfuscation through special terminology (MECE: Mutually-Exclusive, Collectively Exhaustive, etc.), but really it boils down to "find smart people with limited experience, have them express their thoughts in falsifiable ways (as hypotheses in a scientific sense), then gather data to confirm or falsify those A superficial overview of a superficial process. This is a kind of dated overview of the 1990s McKinsey management consultant, still used by big dumb companies to some extent. There's a bit of obfuscation through special terminology (MECE: Mutually-Exclusive, Collectively Exhaustive, etc.), but really it boils down to "find smart people with limited experience, have them express their thoughts in falsifiable ways (as hypotheses in a scientific sense), then gather data to confirm or falsify those hypotheses." Also the "inductive" presentation format where you present conclusions first, then data and theories, and where you pre-sell ("pre-wire") the conclusions individually with stakeholders before the meeting itself. Lots of unwritten stuff which doesn't apply outside of McKinsey (use the brand to sell a 22yo as an expert, the value of an outsider to justify an already-obvious-to-insiders course of action to risk averse politicians within an organization). ...more
4

Aug 04, 2018

These are the notes that I took when reading the book:

-Thinking MECE (mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive) helps to avoid jumping to premature conclusions and restricting one’s array of options because MECE thinking forces the consultant to take the whole range of options into account. (p. 6)
-Inductive thinking, or hypothesis-driven thinking, is the most efficient problem-solving approach and used extensively by McKinsey. (p. 15)
-An issue tree bridges the gap between structure and These are the notes that I took when reading the book:

-Thinking MECE (mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive) helps to avoid jumping to premature conclusions and restricting one’s array of options because MECE thinking forces the consultant to take the whole range of options into account. (p. 6)
-Inductive thinking, or hypothesis-driven thinking, is the most efficient problem-solving approach and used extensively by McKinsey. (p. 15)
-An issue tree bridges the gap between structure and hypothesis. An issue tree is the inductive equivalent to a logic tree. (pp. 16-18) Note: I think the distinction between issue trees and logic trees is not properly defined in that chapter even though the author promises to do so when first introducing logic and issue trees. Maybe I missed something...
-Data gathering: The author mentions three main topics with regard to data gathering: secondary research/desk research, primary research/interviews, and knowledge management. (p. 50)
Specific research tips: 1: Start with the annual report. 2: Look for outliers (KPI outliers). 3: Look for best practices (from competitors). (p. 52)
-Interviews are commonly used at McKinsey because they are not only a good source of primary data but also identify sources of secondary data. (p. 61)
-Interview guides: Boil it down to the the three or four most important questions. (p. 61)
-Interview tips: Have the interviewee’s boss set up that meeting; interview in pairs, listen don’t lead, paraphrase paraphrase paraphrase, use the indirect approach, don’t ask for too much, adopt the Columbo tactic (= ask a sensitive questions at the end of the interview when the official part of the interview is actually already over). (p. 62)
-Always write a thank-you note after interviews. (p. 63)
-Knowledge management: develop a rapid-response culture; acquire external knowledge; control the quality of your input: garbage in, garbage out (p. 78)
-Most corporate decisions are input-oriented and not output- or performance-oriented. This thinking can be changed by publicly stating performance goals and taking these goals as standards when thinking about new projects. Projects have to have a certain minimum absolute impact. (pp. 96-97)
-Prewire business presentations: Build consensus before the actual presentation, make reality checks by talking to stakeholders. Avoid surprises and tailor your presentation to the audience. Try to use department-specific slang. (pp. 118-119)
-Overcommunication is better than undercommunication. (pp. 140-141)
-Team building: A new location to work at can bring team members together. (p. 145) ...more
2

Aug 01, 2011

Having been a consultant at some point or rather, this book is just the very epitome of what a consultant really is: Someone who 'cons' you out a big, fat fee, and then proceeds to 'insult' you by telling you exactly what you already know.
2

Jan 10, 2017

Lost interest after 30 pages in.
What's good:
1. Conclusion first, evidence second and hypothesis last consultant presentation style
2. Data and Chart

What lost me:
1. Self promoting advertising book of the company
2. Idealistic old school management style
3. Makes you believe the only way to become the best of the best is to go to top biz school and get into this company working 90 hours a week, forgetting health and personal life.
4. Very little know how and substance
3

Jun 27, 2016

Good overview to some of McKinsey's techniques and perspectives. Interesting book gave me a few things to think about, but it's a fairly superficial treatment.
3

Dec 28, 2011

Interesting but ultimately doesn't really add that much more to the author's previous book "The McKinsey Way".
4

October 8, 2016

A great follow-up after McKinsey Way but a different take - it shows you how to apply the skills learned to career outside McKinsey. I think the authors do a good job trying to make the McK ways ...Full Review
3

Aug 21, 2018

This is the second book of a trilogy on the project management methods of the consultancy giant McKinsey. The book presents a project methodology on how to solve business problems in a structured project form and also to manage the project team meanwhile. It does not cover The Firms strategic analytic models like the 7S Framework etc. Compared to best-selling precursor to this book, The McKinsey Way, this text focuses more on the methods former McKinsey employees have implemented where they work This is the second book of a trilogy on the project management methods of the consultancy giant McKinsey. The book presents a project methodology on how to solve business problems in a structured project form and also to manage the project team meanwhile. It does not cover The Firms strategic analytic models like the 7S Framework etc. Compared to best-selling precursor to this book, The McKinsey Way, this text focuses more on the methods former McKinsey employees have implemented where they work after they left The Firm. The chapters are structured around the project process. The first five that handle the analytical process are called: Framing the Problem; Designing the Analysis; Gathering the Data; Interpreting the Results and Presenting Your Ideas. The last three that deal with people management are called: Managing Your Team; Managing Your Client and Managing Yourself. Pretty self-explanatory isn’t it?

The authors are two former McKinsey consultants where Ethan Rasiel wrote the previous The McKinsey Way and Paul Fringa is a business Professor at Indiana University. Compared to the first book this one presents less of the elitist and almost military corporate culture of the author’s previous employer but takes a step up in structure and detail covering project management. However, that’s all relative and the granularity is still not what the reader probably would wish for. This becomes all the more annoying given for example the many quotes stating how important it is with well- structured presentations and then you only get a quite sketchy description of how to prepare a presentation. The Firm sells knowledge and they charge a premium price due to a mix of quality and mystique. It’s not unreasonable that they guard their intellectual property or else the ability to command that full price premium might melt away as a snowman in the summer sun. All those who leave McKinsey also pledge not to reveal confidential information about The Firm. That makes a book like this a contradiction in terms and by necessity it is thus held at a very general level. However, if you Google various McKinsey related topics or search YouTube you will find further details. You will also get validation that the structure presented in this book is very much at the core of McKinsey’s project management.

Two topics linger in my mind after reading the book. First, as the authors describe it, it’s in the DNA of The Firm to break down problems into mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive (“MECE” in The Firm’s lingo) sub issues to be analysed and addressed in a data driven and (overly?) structured way. This reductionist method is very much ingrained in the collective culture of the consultants, what happens when they meet problems of a more holistic nature? Some problems aren’t possible to solve by looking at the parts, as they stem from the system itself or the interaction between the parts. Perhaps though this is so rare that the reductionist way is always warranted as the default option?
Second, I’ve always considered it important not to commit to a hypothesis for a solution to a problem early on, as this undoubtedly will bias the type of information that is gathered which in turn will mean that you might miss the crucial piece of the puzzle. As Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes expressed it: ”The temptation to form premature theories upon insufficient data is the bane of our profession.” Still the most successful management consultant firm does just that. They form an initial hypothesis very early on, gather data to validate or refute it (in which case they go back to square one) and claim that this is the more effective way – clearly something to think about.

McKinsey is surely one of the more capitalistic and competitive entities around. It’s then kind of sympathetic to find The Firm’s total commitment to finding the truth. Even if it would lower the profitability in the short run it’s definitely a brilliant sales pitch in the long run. ...more
2

Jul 04, 2018

I had high hopes starting this book as a tech talk I watched referenced this firm and a book called the Pyramid Principle as a corner stone of her leadership process. This book is not a substitute for the other which is hard to find a copy of these days. It goes over various argumentative structures at a high level with some examples and quotations but it's just so high level so consistently that unless all of these concepts are new to you, they won't add to your current understanding of I had high hopes starting this book as a tech talk I watched referenced this firm and a book called the Pyramid Principle as a corner stone of her leadership process. This book is not a substitute for the other which is hard to find a copy of these days. It goes over various argumentative structures at a high level with some examples and quotations but it's just so high level so consistently that unless all of these concepts are new to you, they won't add to your current understanding of breaking down problems. I had also hoped to learn more about the mindset of a consultant, and this gives some insight but I truly hope most consultants aren't as superficial as this book leads me to believe. The first section on MECE and issue trees is solid but the rest is so high level that you could summarize in 50 pages over the 175 it tries to fill out. ...more
4

Mar 22, 2019

Introducing you progressively into the McKinsey world, this book is not a manifesto pro McKinsey as some people had anticipated. Conversely, McKinsey is used as an example of best practices from which useful business processes, techniques and management practices can be transferred -with different degrees of success- to the life of any average manufacturing or service company.

In this role former McKinsey employees are key as they explain their earlier experiences trying to implement the Introducing you progressively into the McKinsey world, this book is not a manifesto pro McKinsey as some people had anticipated. Conversely, McKinsey is used as an example of best practices from which useful business processes, techniques and management practices can be transferred -with different degrees of success- to the life of any average manufacturing or service company.

In this role former McKinsey employees are key as they explain their earlier experiences trying to implement the McKinsey's "bread-and-butter" daily rules and practices to their new non-consulting organizations.

Very useful reading in order to foster analytical thinking while adding structure and data insights to any manager's strategy playbook. ...more
4

Mar 03, 2018

This book shows McKinsey’s approach to break down business challenges, analyze them, generate action plans to solve them. Those skills, marked as McKinsey way, are applicable to more than high-income consultants, but general employees, managers, executives. They are common “best practices”. The author nicely put them together. Those knowledge by themselves are MECE - Mutually Exclusive, Collectively Exhaustive. Among them, MECE principle might be the most important take-away from the book, This book shows McKinsey’s approach to break down business challenges, analyze them, generate action plans to solve them. Those skills, marked as McKinsey way, are applicable to more than high-income consultants, but general employees, managers, executives. They are common “best practices”. The author nicely put them together. Those knowledge by themselves are MECE - Mutually Exclusive, Collectively Exhaustive. Among them, MECE principle might be the most important take-away from the book, followed by Mckinsey's problem-solving model.

It is a worthy read that is nicely structured, lightly salted with examples, fluently iterated. It is for gaining the knowledge of processes and mindset in solving business problems right from the world's top consulting company. ...more
3

Jan 09, 2018

The book outlines certain principles. At first glance, I thought those are quite common sense. But again, I was told that management consultants consistently work in a manner which is quite “common sense” while others tend to forget at time.

The issue is.. I feel this book more like a promoter for the firm, as described in the book, effective selling by pulling?
4

Mar 29, 2019

Interesting read. The book highlights the importance of smaller/often unnoticed factors and situations of corporate life, also providing with ways to handle the situation properly.
3

Aug 11, 2019

After reading the McKinsey Way - the Mind was a terrible thing to waste such a disappointment
4

Jan 07, 2018

Interesting book about McKinsey's methods. Practical tools for use in consulting / consultative sales. Does not make you want to work for "the Firm"
5

Oct 12, 2018

Done

Great format and approach to strategic thinking. A a a a a a a a a a thirteen words done.
5

Nov 05, 2017

Good

Interesting, and occasionally inspiring. However, I wish we could get a deeper version with more examples and/or cases. I’d recommend it as an inspirational tool.
5

Oct 14, 2019

Insightful, practical and succinct. Lots of value in this book.
5

Mar 01, 2017

A great book for anyone who is interested in knowing more about consulting companies, especially McKinsey & company. The content of this book is useful even for normal companies or personal businesses. It will help you to structure your thinking and give you a road map to help you in evaluating the feasibility of your business / idea.
4

Sep 03, 2014

The book The McKinsey Mind by Ethan and Paul is a master-piece for professional seeking structured approach to problem solving. The book could broadly be divided into three chapters- Analyzing, Presenting and Managing. The authors have further divided this book into several chapters for each of these sections.
In the section Analyzing, the book covers the ways a problem statement could be formed through appropriate hypothesis formulation. designing of project delivery including staffing, The book The McKinsey Mind by Ethan and Paul is a master-piece for professional seeking structured approach to problem solving. The book could broadly be divided into three chapters- Analyzing, Presenting and Managing. The authors have further divided this book into several chapters for each of these sections.
In the section Analyzing, the book covers the ways a problem statement could be formed through appropriate hypothesis formulation. designing of project delivery including staffing, resource allocation etc., gather information through formal and informal sources and interpreting the information gathered to test the hypothesis. The book also suggest several ways to collect data, conduct interviews, tweaking hypothesis if founded untrue etc.

In the next section on presenting, in addition to the methods of presenting a structured and easy-to-understand method of presentation; the book discusses how to buy the confidence of various stakeholders. The chapter on "buy-in" is crucial to understand and penetrate into the organizational politics of the client.

The third section on managing has three chapters: team, client and self. In these chapters the authors go beyond the dos and don'ts of project delivery to discuss the nuances of managing team, client and one-self.

This book is a must read for students aspiring a career in management consulting and for professionals who seek logical and structured way of problem-solving.


...more
3

Feb 12, 2019

Better than the McKinsey Way. At least, this book provides a good consulting framework for problem solving process.
4

Jan 25, 2015

The McKinsey Mind is a great resource for creating a framework in one's own company for addressing any issue, be it an integration project, staving off a threat, or starting a new venture. There are some areas in the book where it varies in quality and depth, likely because there might be some proprietary information involved. An example of this involves research and knowledge management, were the text reads more like an ad for how much data, research, and content that McKinsey possess, than how The McKinsey Mind is a great resource for creating a framework in one's own company for addressing any issue, be it an integration project, staving off a threat, or starting a new venture. There are some areas in the book where it varies in quality and depth, likely because there might be some proprietary information involved. An example of this involves research and knowledge management, were the text reads more like an ad for how much data, research, and content that McKinsey possess, than how one might go about developing their own in-house, especially for a small company.

Where the book is invaluable are in the chapters on client interview tips and techniques and achieving a work-life balance. Here, and in other helpful chapters, the authors tap McKinsey's consultants and alumni for best practices and useful anecdotes.
...more

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