Management consulting: From advising to doing

16. May 2014

Date: 15-05-2014

Source: The Economist

McKinsey tries its hand at the restructuring business

THE lawsuit makes the case sound like a spy novel. Two executives at a prestigious multinational organisation hold secret meetings with a competitor who hopes to poach them. Before jumping ship, they send a lot of confidential files, such as strategic plans and contact lists, to their personal and relatives’ e-mail accounts, in a “frantic effort to steal whatever documents [they] could”. On May 9th a judge issued an order requiring the defendants to return them and barring their new employer from using the information.

AlixPartners v Eric Thompson and Ivo Naumann, which was filed last month, will probably not become a Hollywood film. The mundane truth is that AlixPartners is a professional-services firm specialising in corporate restructuring and that Mr Thompson and Mr Naumann, the defendants, now work for McKinsey, a firm of consultants. The suit does not claim that the documents were given to McKinsey, and McKinsey has said the alleged trade secrets would have been of little use anyway. Nonetheless, the case illustrates the heating-up of competition between corporate-turnaround advisers and strategy consultants. It is the most striking example so far of the risks for both.  Read the rest of this entry »

McKinsey’s Matt Rogers on the next industrial revolution

1. April 2014

Date: 01-04-2014
Source: Fortune

Rogers’ new book with Stanford Professor Stefan Heck argues that the business world is fast approaching a shortage of valuable natural resources. Here’s what managers need to know.

Matt Rogers of McKinsey & Co.

FORTUNE — Over the next 15 years, another 2.5 billion people in the developing world will join the middle class. China will add 2½ new cities the size of Chicago every year for the foreseeable future and will have 221 cities with over a million in population by 2025 (compared with 35 cities this size in Europe today). That kind of growth is going to create an unprecedented demand for oil, gas, steel, precious metals, water, and other precious resources. If we keep on our current course of consumption, commodity prices, food prices, and pollution levels are likely to spike, greatly increasing risks for business.

In their insightful new book Resource Revolution: How To Capture the Biggest Business Opportunity in a Century McKinsey director Matt Rogers and Stanford Professor Stefan Heck lay out a compelling road map for how managers need to change the way they think about resources if they want to not only survive but also thrive in the 21st Century.

Fortune’s Brian Dumaine caught up with Matt Rogers recently to discuss the book, which will be published on April 1.

The conventional wisdom about resources is that we’re running out, and we’re all going to die. But you believe we’re about to enter what you call a a resource revolution and that it will be the biggest economic opportunity of the 21st century.

Over the next two decades global growth will stress our resources, and that has a lot of people concerned. What gave us confidence to write the book is that we saw that you could combine advances in nanotechnology, materials science, information technology, and biology with traditional industrial technologies and meet resource requirements more easily than most expect. Read the rest of this entry »

The disruptive power of collaboration: An interview with Clay Shirky

4. March 2014

How we collaborate has profound implications for how we live and work. The author and New York University professor explains how social media has upended traditional norms.

March 2014, McKinsey & Co.


From the invention of the printing press to the telephone, the radio, and the Internet, the ways people collaborate change frequently, and the effects of those changes often reverberate through generations. In this video interview, Clay Shirky, author, New York University professor, and leading thinker on the impact of social media, explains the disruptive impact of technology on how people live and work—and on the economics of what we make and consume. This interview was conducted by McKinsey Global Institute partner Michael Chui, and an edited transcript of Shirky’s remarks follows.

Interview transcript

Sharing changes everything

The thing I’ve always looked at, because it is long-term disruptive, is changes in the way people collaborate. Because in the history of particularly the Western world, when communications tools come along and they change how people can contact each other, how they can share information, how they can find each other—we’re talking about the printing press, or the telephone, or the radio, or what have you—the changes that are left in the wake of those new technologies often span generations.

The printing press was a sustaining technology for the scientific revolution, the spread of newspapers, the spread of democracy, just on down the list. So the thing I always watch out for, when any source of disruption comes along, when anything that’s going to upset the old order comes along, is I look for what the collaborative penumbra is. Read the rest of this entry »

(Still) learning from Toyota

24. February 2014

A retired Toyota executive describes how to overcome common management challenges associated with applying lean, and reflects on the ways that Toyota continues to push the boundaries of lean thinking.

February 2014 | byDeryl Sturdevant, McKinsey Quarterly

In the two years since I retired as president and CEO of Canadian Autoparts Toyota (CAPTIN), I’ve had the good fortune to work with many global manufacturers in different industries on challenges related to lean management. Through that exposure, I’ve been struck by how much the Toyota production system has already changed the face of operations and management, and by the energy that companies continue to expend in trying to apply it to their own operations.

Yet I’ve also found that even though companies are currently benefiting from lean, they have largely just scratched the surface, given the benefits they could achieve. What’s more, the goal line itself is moving—and will go on moving—as companies such as Toyota continue to define the cutting edge. Of course, this will come as no surprise for any student of the Toyota production system and should even serve as a challenge. After all, the goal is continuous improvement.

Room to improve

The two pillars of the Toyota way of doing things are kaizen (the philosophy of continuous improvement) and respect and empowerment for people, particularly line workers. Both are absolutely required in order for lean to work. One huge barrier to both goals is complacency. Through my exposure to different manufacturing environments, I’ve been surprised to find that senior managers often feel they’ve been very successful in their efforts to emulate Toyota’s production system—when in fact their progress has been limited.

The reality is that many senior executives—and by extension many organizations—aren’t nearly as self-reflective or objective about evaluating themselves as they should be. A lot of executives have a propensity to talk about the good things they’re doing rather than focus on applying resources to the things that aren’t what they want them to be. Read the rest of this entry »

Driving lean management: An interview with the COO of TD Ameritrade

24. February 2014

Unfortunately, I don’t understand what this has to do with “Lean Management”. This is just purposeful participative management, which is fine, but does not conclude that “lean management” is the success factor. (hfk)

The financial-services group’s Marv Adams explains how ridding organizations of valueless complexity can spur growth.

February 2014, McKinsey Insight

Marv Adams is the chief operating officer (COO) of TD Ameritrade, a leading US provider of electronic discount brokerage and related financial services. The company currently holds more than $524 billion in client accounts and executes an average of nearly 400,000 trades per day.

In his role as COO, Mr. Adams oversees all IT and operations functions, including systems development, data centers and infrastructure, networks, project management and process improvement, and retail brokerage clearing and operations. He has devoted much of his 30-year career to the pursuit of lean management, initially in traditional manufacturing environments and later in financial services. He has been a member of the senior leadership teams at Ford Motor Company, Bank One, Citigroup, Fidelity Brokerage Services, and TIAA-CREF.


Marv Adams biography

McKinsey spoke with Mr. Adams at his office in Jersey City, New Jersey.

McKinsey: Across the many operational contexts in which you have worked, what do you find makes lean management so powerful when it is done well?

Marv Adams: Lean management effectively taps into associates’ convictions and passions. They have a deeper sense of when their company is acting in the right way—for the long term, out of a genuine belief in serving clients—versus when it is just reacting to short-term pressures in a never-ending cycle of “flavor of the year.”

Flavor of the year is exhausting. It consumes time and energy without achieving real change. That’s dispiriting for associates and makes it even harder for middle managers to motivate their teams. Everyone is so worn out that when they see a system that says, “We are stewards; it is our responsibility to find a better way to help our clients,” they find it inspiring. When associates can tie their work back to a purpose that’s deeper than just making more money next quarter, the result is a culture in which people are much more satisfied, inspired, productive, and innovative at every level of the organization. So it’s incredibly powerful when it’s done well. Read the rest of this entry »

The enterprise IT infrastructure agenda for 2014

27. January 2014

IT infrastructure managers must simultaneously capture the next rounds of efficiencies, accelerate the transition to next-generation infrastructure, reduce risks, and improve organizational execution.

January 2014 | byBjörn Münstermann, Brent Smolinski, and Kara Sprague, McKinsey & Co.

This year has been tough for many organizations that manage IT infrastructure—the hardware, software, and operational support required to provide application hosting, network, and end-user services. Highly uncertain business conditions have resulted in tighter budgets. Many infrastructure managers have rushed to put tactical cost reductions in place—canceling projects, rationalizing contractors, extracting vendor concessions, and deferring investments to upgrade hardware and software.

We have conducted more than 50 discussions with heads of infrastructure at Fortune Global 500 companies over the past six months to get a sense of the issues they are wrestling with. Clearly, infrastructure leaders must meet 2013 budgets while ensuring they can address critical challenges in 2014 and beyond. They can do so by pulling 11 levers.

Capture the next round of efficiencies

There is no indication that 2014 will be dramatically easier from a budgetary standpoint than 2013 has been at many companies. Even as infrastructure organizations lock in 2013 savings, they need to take several actions to establish a pipeline of cost-improvement initiatives that will create space in their budgets for 2014 and 2015.

1. Put in place a commercial-style interaction model with business partners Read the rest of this entry »

Die Zukunft der Berater

17. January 2014


Die Zukunft der Berater

Von Clayton M. Christensen, Dina Wang und Derek van Bever, Harvard Business Manager, 15/1

Die Consulting-Branche verdient ihr Geld damit, Unternehmen beim richtigen Umgang mit strategischen Bedrohungen zu unterstützen. Jetzt gerät sie selbst in Gefahr.

Jahrelang hatten sich die Berater von McKinsey & Company mit ihrer Situation auseinandergesetzt. Sie hatten Diskussionen geführt und Analysen erstellt. Im Jahr 2007 schritten sie dann zur Tat. Die globale Beratungsfirma startete eine Reihe von Geschäftsmodellinnovationen, die das Verhältnis zu ihren Kunden grundlegend verändern könnten. Eine der spannendsten ist McKinsey Solutions: software- und technologiebasierte Analysewerkzeuge, die sich in die Systeme von Kunden integrieren lassen. Sie ermöglichen eine Zusammenarbeit auch über die traditionellen Projekte hinaus. Mit McKinsey Solutions entbündelte das Unternehmen zum ersten Mal seine Angebote und machte sein Wissen in Form von Produkten zugänglich.

McKinsey und andere Beratungsfirmen haben sich zwar schon häufiger neu aufgestellt – von universeller zu funktionaler Ausrichtung, von lokalen zu globalen Strukturen und von eng zusammenhängenden Teams zu miteinander vernetzten Experten an unterschiedlichen Orten. Der Start von McKinsey Solutions aber ist etwas gänzlich Neues, denn erstmals geht es nicht mehr darum, Berater zu entsenden.

Doch warum investiert ein Unternehmen, dessen wichtigstes Wertversprechen auf fundierten Urteilen und maßgeschneiderten Diagnosen beruht, in eine solche Neuerung – wo doch sein Kerngeschäft bislang noch floriert? Zum einen verspricht McKinsey Solutions kürzere Projekte mit einem klareren Return on Investment, die helfen, in wirtschaftlichen Schwächephasen Umsätze sowie Marktanteil zu bewahren. Zudem kann die Beratung, wenn sie proprietäre Analyseinstrumente beim Kunden einrichtet, dort auch in der Zeit zwischen zwei Projekten präsent bleiben. Das verbessert die Chancen auf zukünftige Aufträge. Diese geschäftlichen Vorteile dürften für die Entscheidung von McKinsey eine Rolle gespielt haben. Doch letztlich, so glauben wir, ging es um noch viel mehr: McKinsey Solutions ist als Absicherung gegen eine mögliche Disruption der klassischen Beratungsarbeit gedacht. Read the rest of this entry »