The McKinsey Way

You can certainly never go wrong looking at McKinsey. Their consultants are usually very top notch and their process of thinking and root cause analysis is great. Although this post is more about how you analyze a problem (i.e., business process innovation), it also makes a point about how important process and methodology is. The only way of delivering consistent, high-quality advice worldwide is to have a process of training and consulting that leverages smart people and delivers them to clients.

(Never mind the fact that McKinsey once told me that they only interview people with a 4.0 or people with a 3.8 and above from a top 5 business school. I didn’t fit the bill, but I have several good friends who were there. I have lots of respect for them.)

The McKinsey Way is actually a book so you can see some insight into the company. I have read the book and recommend it. Rather than re-type all my notes, I found comments about the book at MeansBusiness and on blog called Brian Groth’s Life at Microsoft and looked at notes on MECE (mutually exclusive, collectively exhaustive) from a book review on The McKinsey Mind.

My old boss who worked for McKinsey was a genius at asking the probing questions. She knew how to get to root cause better than anyone I worked for. This is essential in diagnosing any problem not least of which are process problems. (Since I assume you only look at BPM to drive value where you have some type of problem.)

So MECE, as Brian states in his blog, it suggests you should do the following:

  1. Identify the problem using a mutually exclusive, collectively exhaustive framework and then map the problem out using some type of logic tree (see example).
  2. Create a hypothesis (or hypotheses) about the solution…this drives your analysis.
  3. Analyze the data…remember that the only thing that is right is data (assuming some data integrity).
  4. Repeat steps 3 & 4 until you find a fact-based solution that makes sense.

From the book, some of the other key points are:

  1. “The most brilliant solution, backed up by libraries of data and promising billions in extra profits, is useless if your client or business can’t implement it.”
  2. “Most business problems resemble each other more than they differ.”
  3. “If you get your facts together and do you analyses, the solution will come to you.”
  4. “If you keep your eyes peeled for examples of 80/20 in your business, you will come up with ways to improve it.”
  5. “Know your solution so thoroughly that you can explain it clearly and precisely to your client in 30 seconds.”
  6. “It’s much better to get to first base consistently than to try to hit a home run and strike out 9 times out of 10.”
  7. “Just as you shouldn’t accept I have no idea from others, so you shouldn’t accept it from yourself, or expect others to accept it from you. This is the flip side of I don’t know.”
  8. “When you’re picking people’s brains, ask questions and then let them do the talking. Keep the interview on track by breaking in when necessary.”

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