Summary of The McKinsey Engagement

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Businesses and other organizations usually solve their problems through team efforts. The business consulting firm McKinsey has developed special expertise in team-based problem solving and change management. In this book, former McKinsey associate consultant Paul Friga describes TEAM FOCUS, an acronym he had invented to describe McKinsey’s method of problem solving. He integrates this McKinsey-based method with other approaches. getAbstract recommends this hands-on book to executives, managers, team leaders and business consultants who want to improve their business operations and are looking for systematic approaches to problem solving.

About the Author

Paul Friga, Ph.D., is an associate professor at the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina and previously worked for McKinsey and PriceWaterhouseCoopers.

 

Summary

The McKinsey Approach

Business leaders often try to emulate the military. Business literature’s greatest hits include The Art of War by Sun Tzu and Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun by Wess Roberts. Military-related terms such as “mission, vision, hierarchy and strategic communication” abound in the business world. Both the military and businesses extol the virtues of such concepts as “standard operating procedures, excellence in execution and cross-training.”

McKinsey consultants are the special forces of the business world. Their specialty is “team problem solving.” They do their problem solving during what they call “engagements,” which are like military missions. Their method is not magic; it’s quite teachable, although it requires discipline and the ability to tell a good story. Team problem solving is all about communication, and one of the best ways to communicate is with narratives.

Although McKinsey itself does not use this term, the acronym “TEAM FOCUS” helps remember the elements of the McKinsey method:

  • “Talk” – A team that cannot communicate cannot solve any problem.

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