Inside the Strategy Room

Inside the Strategy Room Podcast

We talk with McKinsey partners and corporate executives on the challenges they face creating lasting strategies in a fast-changing world. We also examine the different ways these executives approach these challenges and the new and innovative ways they think of creating a vision for their enterprises.

Purpose and the future for capitalism
We hear from two award-winning American economists about how capitalism and corporate purpose could evolve to more broadly benefit society, especially in this current time of crisis. Yuval Atsmon, a senior partner in our London office, spoke with professor Anne Case and Nobel prize winner, Angus Deaton, about their new book, ‘Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism’. Their book, which has been short-listed for the 2020 Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year, highlights the social and ...

The committed innovator: An interview with Kellogg’s Nigel Hughes
Nigel Hughes, head of R&D and Innovation at Kellogg Company, speaks with Stacey Haas, who heads up McKinsey’s Consumer Innovation practice, and Erik Roth, who leads McKinsey’s innovation work globally. Hear Nigel’s perspective on the evolution of the CPG industry’s approach to innovation and how Kellogg itself is being solution-based and partnering with other organizations in its pursuit of growth Read more >    Listen to the podcast (duration: 30:15) >...

In conversation: The CEO moment. Episode 2
Today we'll cover the two remaining shifts CEOs are making in this moment; embracing stakeholder capitalism and leveraging peer networks. Sharing their insights on this topic with us today are Carolyn Dewar who co-leads our CEO Excellence work, and Monica Murarka who is a senior expert and leader also of the McKinsey’s CEO Excellence work. We are also joined by Kurt Strovink, the leader of McKinsey’s global insurance sector. Kurt has also led McKinsey initiatives for CEOs across industries. Read mo...


In conversation: The CEO moment. Episode 1
The COVID-19 crisis has put CEOs and the organizations they lead under great pressure. At the same time, it has provided a once-in-a-generation opportunity for chief executives to evolve the nature and impact of their role. The authors of a McKinsey Quarterly article, “The CEO moment: Leadership for a new era,” describe the shifts that top-performing CEOs have taken in how they lead—changes that have the potential to permanently transform the CEO role. Carolyn Dewar co-leads our CEO Excellence work, and Mon...

Why you need to keep changing your company’s business mix
One of the perennial questions corporate leaders ask is which businesses their company should be in.Our recent article, “Why you’ve got to put your portfolio on the move,” suggests that regularly changing the portfolio mix in response to market trends is the surest path to outperformance. During our European M&A conference in London, which took place earlier this year, two of the article’s authors discussed their research on portfolio transformation, based on an analysis of detailed financial results of mor...

Corporate purpose, during crisis and beyond
In this episode we present a panel discussion on how companies are using corporate purpose to guide their response to the COVID-19 crisis and the nascent recovery. Bruce Simpson, a McKinsey senior partner and co-author of the recent article, “Demonstrating corporate purpose in the time of coronavirus,” talks with four senior executives who have firsthand experience of establishing and driving purpose in their organizations: Rona Hulbert, general manager at British multinational retailer Marks and Spencer Gr...


Growth through a downturn
For many business leaders wrestling with the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, growth may seem like a distant priority. However, once the health of employees is protected and the business is secured, many executives will quickly shift their focus to restarting the stalled growth engine. A recent McKinsey.com article reports that only one in ten companies manage to outperform on growth both during downturns and during the subsequent recovery. Today we speak with the article’s authors about what these t...

In conversation: Innovation in a crisis
As companies focus on navigating through the COVID-19 pandemic, many are putting innovation on the back burner. But as two of McKinsey’s top experts on innovation explain, these organizations may miss out on rare opportunities to reinvent their businesses for the post-crisis era.  We hear from Laura Furstenthal who leads our innovation practice in North America, serving clients in a range of industries on innovation transformations. And Erik Roth, the global leader of McKinsey’s innovation practice who adv...

In conversation: Culture in M&A
Among the many factors companies weigh when embarking on mergers and acquisitions, culture is one that often gets short shrift. Yet it often plays a crucial role in a deal’s success or failure. In this episode Becky Kaetzler, a leader in McKinsey’s M&A practice, explains how to conduct cultural due diligence to help ensure a deal fulfills its goals. Read more >    Listen to the podcast (duration: 15:38) >...


Committing to innovation: A discussion with investor Kevin O’Leary
In this episode Erik Roth, who leads McKinsey’s global innovation practice, interviews Kevin O’Leary as part of our ongoing series on innovation. The Canadian entrepreneur, best known as one of the investors featured on the American reality TV series Shark Tank, shares his bets on innovation’s next frontier. Read more >    Listen to the podcast (duration: 29:55) >...

Choosing the right path to unlock the economy
In this episode we try to answer two urgent questions: how should governments approach the different possible paths to reopening their economies? And what is needed to spur businesses and consumers to start spending again?  Two McKinsey senior partners who have been deeply involved in helping companies navigate the coronavirus pandemic discuss the current uncertainty and its impact on economic recovery. Penny Dash leads the healthcare systems and services practice in Western Europe while Sven Smit co-chai...

Transformation and resilience: An interview with Best Buy’s executive chairman Hubert Joly
Hubert Joly, the former CEO and now executive chairman of Best Buy, speaks with Becca Coggins, a leader in McKinsey’s global retail practice, about Best Buy’s organizational transformation and how the coronavirus pandemic is changing the key measures of performance.This interview was recorded at the 2020 Global Business Leaders Forum, which was held online. Read more >    Listen to the podcast (duration: 43:54) >...


Planning ahead of the crisis
The coronavirus outbreak is shaping up to be the biggest economic crisis since World War II. The challenges associated with the virus are much larger than companies are used to dealing with, and firms need to have an adaptable operating model that can withstand an extraordinary level of uncertainty. How can companies adjust their business recovery responses according to the shifting time-frames? Read more >    Listen to the podcast (duration: 31:54) >...

Navigating unprecedented disruption
In early April we sat down with two leaders from the McKinsey Global Institute to discuss their perspectives on how the long-term, structural trends driving global disruption are now intersecting with the current economic and health crisis. Jonathan Woetzel is a senior partner and director of the McKinsey Global Institute. He joined us from his home in the Los Angeles area. Susan Lund is a partner and leads MGI’s research on global financial markets, trade, labor markets, and the macroeconomic outlook. She ...

Making your business transformation stick
In this episode, McKinsey contributor Cam MacKellar talks with two senior partners, Chris Bradley and Wesley Walden, about their research on improving the results of business transformation efforts. Read more >    Listen to the podcast (duration: 27:58) >...


Protecting our lives and our livelihoods from coronavirus
The COVID crisis has dominated headlines - and our lives - and it’s still not clear when and how we will return to the world we knew. Many questions remain. How will communities, businesses, and governments continue to respond to the crisis and what are the range of possible scenarios for decision makers to consider?To offer some perspective on these questions we feature a recent conversation between Sven Smit and Francisco Ortega. Sven is a senior partner at McKinsey, based in Amsterdam and is co-chair of ...

The war on the coronavirus
McKinsey partner Yuval Atsmon talks with three top US Air Force and Navy leaders about what corporate executives can learn from the practices of military commanders. Michael Donley served as the 22nd secretary of the United States Air Force. He has 30 years of experience in the national security community, including service on the staffs of the United States Senate, White House, and Pentagon. Robert Kehleris a retired United States Air Force general who served as commander of the US Strategic Command and of...

Four ways to assess projects and keep them on track
Biases can lead executives to misjudge project potential, ignore potential pitfalls, and leave failures to fester. In this episode, McKinsey partner Tim Koller and University of Sydney professor of business strategy Dan Lovallo speak with McKinsey Strategy & Corporate Finance communications director Sean Brown about how to bust common biases by avoiding snap judgements, eliciting strong arguments for and against proposals, carrying out project premortems, and using contingency plans to avoid the so-called s...


CFO leadership in the COVID-19 crisis
As companies craft their responses to the COVID-19 crisis, CFOs are in the thick of the action. They need to make sure that their organizations weather the immediate business shocks while preparing them to emerge from the crisis in the best possible shape.In this episode of the Inside the Strategy Room podcast, Strategy and Corporate Finance communications director Sean Brown talks with three of McKinsey’s corporate finance experts about the top imperatives for CFOs today. Ishaan Seth is the leader of the S...

Cash preservation in response to COVID-19
During the COVID-19 crisis, a core priority for many companies is preserving cash. In this episode, Strategy and Corporate Finance communications director Sean Brown talks with three of McKinsey’s corporate finance experts about the best ways to ensure liquidity now and manage cash and working capital as the business environment starts to stabilize. Kevin Carmody is one of the founders of McKinsey’s Transformation Practice. Tim Koller is a founder and leader of our Corporate Finance Practice, as well as the...

COVID-19: Strategies for getting ahead of the pandemic crisis
In this episode we share excerpts from a webcast session on COVID-19’s implications for business resilience. It was recorded at the 2020 Global Business Leaders Forum, which had been scheduled to take place in New York in early April but was instead held online. In conversation with Strategy and Corporate Finance communications director Sean Brown, two McKinsey experts offer their perspectives on how businesses can develop business strategies for responding to the pandemic crisis and preparing for the “next...


COVID-19: Strategies for getting ahead of the pandemic crisis
In this episode we share excerpts from a webcast session on COVID-19’s implications for business resilience. It was recorded at the 2020 Global Business Leaders Forum, which had been scheduled to take place in New York in early April but was instead held online. In conversation with Strategy and Corporate Finance communications director Sean Brown, twoMcKinsey experts offer their perspectives on how businesses can develop business strategies for responding to the pandemic crisis and preparing for the “next ...

COVID-19: Implications for business
In this episode we share excerpts from a webcast session on COVID-19’s implications for business resilience. It was recorded at the 2020 Global Business Leaders Forum, which had been scheduled to take place in New York in early April but was instead held online. In conversation with Strategy and Corporate Finance communications director Sean Brown, two McKinsey experts offer their perspectives on how businesses can develop business strategies for responding to the pandemic crisis and preparing for the “next...

COVID-19: How business leaders should plan ahead for the next stage
In early April 2020 we hosted our annual Global Business Leaders Forum. We held the Forum online and focused the first day on the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on business. Martin Hirt, a senior partner in our Greater China Office and the global co-leader of the Strategy and Corporate Finance Practice, recently co-authored two articles on the crisis titled “Safeguarding our lives and our livelihoods: The imperative of our time” and “Getting ahead of the next stage of the coronavirus crisis.”He opened the...


Why ESG is here to stay
Environmental, social, and governance(ESG) issues are playing an increasing role in companies’ decisions around mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures. But how do these factors link to corporate performance and deal potential? In this episode, two experts share their insights on navigating this fast-changing landscape. Sara Bernow, who leads McKinsey’s work in sustainable investing and co-leads the institutional investing practice in Europe, is a co-author of the recent article, “More than values: The valu...

Why ESG is here to stay
Environmental, social, and governance(ESG) issues are playing an increasing role in companies’ decisions around mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures. But how do these factors link to corporate performance and deal potential? In this episode, two experts share their insights on navigating this fast-changing landscape. Sara Bernow, who leads McKinsey’s work in sustainable investing and co-leads the institutional investing practice in Europe, is a co-author of the recent article, “More than values: The valu...

Getting a grip on revenue synergies
With the cost of money low and the competition for deals high, revenue synergies are playing a bigger part in the rationale for acquisitions.In this episode, three McKinsey experts discuss the challenges around capturing revenue synergies in mergers.In their conversation with Strategy & Corporate Finance communications director Sean Brown, partners Alex Liu and Nikolaus Raberger along with associate partner John Chartier, share the key findings from their recent research, featured in their article, “Seven r...


What sets the world’s best CEOs apart
McKinsey senior partners Carolyn Dewar and Scott Keller discuss the six dimensions that separate exceptional CEOs from the rest of the pack.They also provide guidance on how current and future leaders can join that elite group. Read more >    Listen to the podcast (duration: 33:05) >...

What sets the world’s best CEOs apart
McKinsey senior partners Carolyn Dewar and Scott Keller discuss the six dimensions that separate exceptional CEOs from the rest of the pack.They also provide guidance on how current and future leaders can join that elite group. Read more >    Listen to the podcast (duration: 33:05) >...

Extracting value from M&A
Successful mergers and acquisitions require more than just a strong M&A strategy and target list. They also demand well-planned execution, communication, and integration. We talk with two of our leading experts on transactions. Kenneth Bonheure, a senior partner based in Antwerp, leads our merger management work in Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. Senior partner Peter Kenevan, who is based in Tokyo, is the leader of McKinsey’s Asia-Pacific Corporate Finance and Semiconductors practices. Kenneth and ...


Innovation at scale: A conversation with Beth Comstock
Beth Comstock, former vice chair of GE, and McKinsey senior partner Erik Roth discuss how a tolerance for risk, patience, and thinking small (where funding is concerned) can lead to innovation breakthroughs. Beth is an innovation leader who spent almost three decades at General Electric, where for a time she headed GE Business Innovations that developed new businesses, markets and service models. She recently published Imagine It Forward: Courage, creativity, and the power of change. Erik leads McKinsey's ...

Committing to Innovation: A discussion with Beth Comstock
Beth Comstock, former vice chair of GE, and McKinsey senior partner Erik Roth discuss how a tolerance for risk, patience, and thinking small (where funding is concerned) can lead to innovation breakthroughs. Beth is an innovation leader who spent almost three decades at General Electric, where for a time she headed GE Business Innovations that developed new businesses, markets and service models. She recently published Imagine It Forward: Courage, creativity, and the power of change. Erik leads McKinsey's ...

Committing to Innovation: A discussion with Beth Comstock
Beth Comstock, former vice chair of GE, and McKinsey senior partner Erik Roth discuss how a tolerance for risk, patience, and thinking small (where funding is concerned) can lead to innovation breakthroughs. Beth is an innovation leader who spent almost three decades at General Electric, where for a time she headed GE Business Innovations that developed new businesses, markets and service models. She recently published Imagine It Forward: Courage, creativity, and the power of change. Erik leads McKinsey's ...


A winning formula for deal synergies
Senior partner Andy West and partner Jeff Rudnicki, two of McKinsey’s most seasoned M&A experts, discuss what they have learned from their recent work with clients of the Synergy Lab, a new initiative aimed at understanding how to most effectively capture synergies in M&A deals. In their conversation with communications director Sean Brown, they share seven insights, some of which surprised even them. Read more >    Listen to the podcast (duration: 35:07) >...

How new CEOs can manage for the future
Today we’re talking with two McKinsey senior partners about a dilemma that many new CEOs face: should they focus on showing quick results or invest in the company’s long-term future, even at the expense of short-term returns? Carolyn Dewar and Michael Birshan help new leaders grapple with the dual imperatives of producing immediate results while establishing the foundation for lasting success. In their conversation with Strategy & Corporate Finance communications director Sean Brown, they also share researc...

Digital disruption and the role of M&A
With digital technologies unleashing ever more change in industry structures and company business models, mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures are an important way for companies to reposition their organizations to compete in the digital age. In today’s podcast, Cam MacKellar, a McKinsey contributor, talks with Simon Blackburn, a senior partner in our Sydney office, about the role of M&A in adapting to digital disruption. Read more >    Listen to the podcast (durat...


Corporate diversity: if you don’t measure it, it won’t get done
At our CFO Forum in London, senior partners Celia Huber and Vivian Hunt led a discussion on corporate diversity, sharing insights from McKinsey’s ongoing research and answering questions from attendees. This episode is an edited recording of the session. Celia begins with an introduction of McKinsey’s work with LeanIn.org and theWall Street Journal surveying the state of diversity in the corporate world. Read more >    Listen to the podcast (duration: 24:13) >...

Strategy at the speed of digital
In this episode you’ll hear from the co-authors of a recent McKinsey Quarterly article, “The drumbeat of digital: How winning teams play.” Tanguy Catlin, a senior partner in our Boston office, and Laura LaBerge, a member of our digital strategy team, will share their research on how fast and boldly companies need to move to win in the digital era. They will also describe some common pitfalls in digital strategy, ways to avoid them, and how digital leaders execute strategic moves with a speed and power that...

Strategy at the speed of digital
In this episode you’ll hear from the co-authors of a recent McKinsey Quarterly article, “The drumbeat of digital: How winning teams play.” Tanguy Catlin, a senior partner in our Boston office, and Laura LaBerge, a member of our digital strategy team, will share their research on how fast and boldly companies need to move to win in the digital era. They will also describe some common pitfalls in digital strategy, ways to avoid them, and how digital leaders execute strategic moves with a speed and power that...


Partners in profit: Creating successful business alliances
In this episode Ruth De Backer and Eileen Kelly Rinaudo take us through a detailed masterclass on ways to manage business partnerships successfully. In their conversation with Strategy & Corporate Finance communications director Sean Brown, they discuss the four key principles that help partners in joint ventures and alliances thrive, which they wrote about in a recent article. Read more >    Listen to the podcast (duration: 44:03) >...

Stronger for longer: How top performers thrive through downturns
We talk with two of our experts about their new research on corporate resilience and what differentiates companies that emerge from economic downturns stronger than they were going in. We'll share insights on preparing your organization for macroeconomic crises and why the next downturn may be very different from earlier ones. Read more >    Listen to the podcast (duration: 31:33) >...

Jumpstart a better way to do strategy
We continue our discussion on the factors that most affect a strategy’s odds of success. In our two previous podcasts we discussed how social dynamics and biases can undermine strategy development and explained the Power Curve of economic profit, which shows how well—or how poorly—the strategies of the world’s largest companies are performing. We also heard about the most important strategic moves companies can make to rise up that Power Curve. Today we will share excerpts from a presentation senior partner...


How to make the bold moves that matter
We continue our discussion with three senior partners about their research on the factors that most affect a strategy’s odds of success and the moves companies need to make to boost corporate performance. In our last podcast, we discussed the authors’ Power Curve model, which graphs the world’s largest companies’ performance and shows that the middle 60 percent of them make little, if any, economic profit. Today we’ll try to answer the question: how can these companies rise to the top quintile of performers...

How to know your strategy’s odds of success
In this episode of the Inside the Strategy Room podcast, McKinsey senior partners Chris Bradley, Martin Hirt, and Sven Smit speak with communications director Sean Brown about their book, Strategy Beyond the Hockey Stick. In this first of three podcasts, the co-authors discuss the Power Curve of economic profit and how this empirical analysis can help companies calibrate their performance aspirations and cut through the social dynamics that produce inertia. Read more >    ...

How to know your strategy’s odds of success
In this episode of the Inside the Strategy Room podcast, McKinsey senior partners Chris Bradley, Martin Hirt, and Sven Smit speak with communications director Sean Brown about their book, Strategy Beyond the Hockey Stick. In this first of three podcasts, the co-authors discuss the Power Curve of economic profit and how this empirical analysis can help companies calibrate their performance aspirations and cut through the social dynamics that produce inertia. Read more >    ...


Measuring your strategy’s odds of success
In this episode of the Inside the Strategy Room podcast, McKinsey senior partners Chris Bradley, Martin Hirt, and Sven Smit speak with communications director Sean Brown about their book, Strategy Beyond the Hockey Stick. In this first of three podcasts, the co-authors discuss the Power Curve of economic profit and how this empirical analysis can help companies calibrate their performance aspirations and cut through the social dynamics that produce inertia. Read more >    ...

Reinventing the CFO for the digital age
The demands on CFOs are rising, along with the scale and influence of the role. Today’s podcast was recorded at our 2019 CFO Forum, where thetheme was “Reinventing the CFO.” The Forum was hosted by Kapil Chandra, a senior partner in our London office, and Matt Stone, an associate partner also based in London. Jonathan Turton, a McKinsey contributor, sat down with Kapil and Matt after the forum to gather their reflections on the event and how the role ofthe CFO is evolving. Read more > ...

Framing reinvention: What disruptive change means for business, society, and you
In this episodewe share McKinsey global managing partner Kevin Sneader’s recent address to a gathering of CFOs in London. The conference’s theme was around reinventing the role of the CFO and how digital and analytics are helping drive this reinvention. Kevin’s remarks focused on macro disruptions and the implications for business and society. He sets the stage with a historical perspective on the pace of disruptive technological change using the SS Savannah,one of the first hybrid sailing ships that augmen...


How CFOs should drive digital transformations
Senior partners Tanguy Catlin and Kate Smaje discuss their recent work on digital reinventions at established companies and the role CFOs should play to help them succeed. In their conversation with communications director Sean Brown, they share their insights from recent research on the factors that separate digital winners from the also-rans. Read more >    Listen to the podcast (duration: 25:20) >...

Resilience and value: A CFO toolkit for withstanding shocks
While economic downturns are impossible to predict, it is never too early to start thinking about how to weather the next downturn—whenever it comes. Two of our senior partners, Cindy Levy and Martin Hirt, recently talked about how executives can think about this challenge and how this applies not only when there is concern about a downturn but also in the normal course of business. Read more >    Listen to the podcast (duration: 22:30) >...

The diversity opportunity for new CEOs
When we talk about organizations we often think in terms of their performance and their overall health. Gender diversity tends to be a subject that many relate to the health part of that equation. But new research has uncovered a fascinating correlation between gender diversity and corporate performance. Joining us today to discuss this research are Paula Ramos, a partner with our New Jersey office and Tom Meakin, a partner based in our London office. Read more >    L...


Want better strategies? Become a bulletproof problem solver
As the pace of social, economic, and technological change accelerates, organizations everywhere must make increasingly complex decisions in the face of an uncertain future. This is why the value of creative and strategic thinkers capable of solving complex problems has never been higher.   Today’s episode features a conversation between Chris Bradley, a senior partner in our Sydney office, and Rob McLean, a Director Emeritus of the firm, a trustee of The Nature Conservancy in Australia and Asia, and directo...

Creating high-performance innovation teams at scale
Most CEOs understand that innovation is a team sport. The challenge leaders face is identifying and nurturing the right combination of people within an organization who are capable of developing winning products and taking them to market. Erik Roth and Matt Banholzer join us to share their perspectives on what it takes to field high-performing innovation teams. Read more >    Listen to the podcast (duration: 31:13) >...

Active portfolio management: An interview with Andy West
Andy West on recent trends in mergers and acquisitions and the importance of aligning your transaction strategy with your overall strategy. How do you know when it's the right time to divest? What strategies do top M & A performers employ to gain a competitive advantage? How do you align the board and management team around what businesses you want to be in and why?  Read more >    Listen to the podcast (duration: 24:03) >...


The evolution of the CFO
CFOs are playing an increasingly pivotal role driving change in their companies. How should they balance their traditional responsibilities with the new CFO mandate? Read more >    Listen to the podcast (duration: 21:17) >...

The pros and cons of activist investors
Management teams who engage positively with attackers may find activist campaigns bring ideas that create value and improve shareholder performance. We investigate the levers activists pull to improve the performance of target companies, activist investor trends globally, and how companies can respond positively when they are approached by activists. Read more >    Listen to the podcast (duration: 9:34) >...

How to move fast: Innovation at speed and scale
Innovation is critical to driving growth. Today we are talking about how large companies can take innovation plays from startups' play books to make them more competitive. We will hear from entrepreneurs and McKinsey experts about the techniques they use to go to market and scale quickly with limited resources. We'll see how larger companies can emulate some of that behaviour. And we will discuss how large companies can leverage what they already do very well and apply it to new growth initiatives.  ...


Bias busters: How to resist the allure of ‘glamour’ projects
Shiny new initiatives can distract you from paying attention to other good but mundane projects and investments. In this episode McKinsey partner Tim Koller, professor of business strategy at the University of Sydney Dan Lovallo, and Sean Brown, discuss why people underinvest in so-called unremarkable projects and how to remedy this bias to ensure all projects receive the resources and attention they deserve. Read more >    Listen to the podcast (duration: 14:03) >...

Bias busters: How to avoid losses and prune projects proactively
It’s common for companies to hang on too long to a number of projects or parts of the business that are underperforming but just won’t die. These projects and business units linger because of emotional or legacy attachments that executives have toward them. In this episode McKinsey partner Tim Koller, professor of business strategy at the University of Sydney Dan Lovallo, and Sean Brown, discuss two effective techniques for understanding when to hold on to an asset and when to let it go. Read more ...

Bias busters: How to be objective about budgets
Anchoring bias can hold back the budgeting process and influence your targets despite your best efforts. Address it and refocus difficult conversations. In this episode McKinsey partner Tim Koller, professor of business strategy at the University of Sydney Dan Lovallo, and Sean Brown, discuss how to tackle anchoring bias and refocus difficult budget conversations. Read more >    Listen to the podcast (duration: 18:38) >...


Bias busters: How to make better decisions with the ‘outside view’
Despite their best intentions, executives fall prey to cognitive and organizational biases that get in the way of good decision making. In our new Bias Busters series, McKinsey partner Tim Koller and Dan Lovallo, an alumnus of McKinsey’s San Francisco office and professor of business strategy at the University of Sydney, will highlight some of the biases that hold sway in the strategy room. They will also offer effective ways to respond. Our topic for this episode? Taking the “outside view.” Tim, Dan, and h...

Why long-term value is a winning bet
Companies that focus on the long-term outperform their shorter-term peers on a range of economic and financial metrics including revenue and earnings, market capitalization, and job creation. In this episode, Sean Brown is joined by Bruce Simpson, a senior partner in our Toronto office who recently co-authored a chapter in the book, Reimagining Capitalism. Also joining the conversation are Jonathan Godsall and Jack McGinn  from our the New York office.  We discuss how an important part of a successful long-...

Digital transformation: The CFO's role
Michael Bender is the global co-leader of McKinsey Digital and Analytics. He spoke with Sean Brown in London about the role CFOs can play in driving digital transformations, the nature of digital transformations more generally, how digital and analytics go hand in hand, and the challenges companies can face when working to adopt both.  Read more >    Listen to the podcast (duration: 25:35) >...


Make working capital work harder for you
Working capital is often an under-appreciated source of cash and value creation. Associate partner Matt Stone speaks with Sean Brown in London about how leading companies are unlocking value by implementing effective working capital strategies and world-class advanced analytics and machine learning solutions. Read more >    Listen to the podcast (duration: 10:41) >...

How leading CEOs manage their middle tenure
There is a wealth of research into how new CEOs should successfully transition into the leading role. Less frequently studied is how top CEOs outperform competitors during the second act of their tenures. Sean Brown talks with senior partner Rodney Zemmel and associate partner Matt Cuddihy about the five themes that emerged from their research into how leading CEOs managed the middle part of their tenures through years three, four, five and beyond. Read more >    List...

How to take the measure of innovation
Two simple R & D conversion metrics can help executives measure the value of innovation efforts. Senior partner Erik Roth, and associate partners Guttorm Aase and Sri Swaminathan speak with Sean Brown about how companies can gain valuable insights into innovation performance from a pair of metrics that have been hiding seemingly in plain sight. Their core components — gross margin, R&D, and sales from new products — are not new, but combining them can shed new light on the relative innovation performance of...


Demystifying AI and machine learning for executives
Senior partner Tamim Saleh cuts through the hype around AI in this interview and offers clear guidance for executives looking to make precise strategic decisions about where and how to employ AI in their business. Tamim shares insights on the impact of machine vision on AI, the future of voice recognition, and the latest developments in advanced analytics, virtual assistants, and robotics. He outlines the challenges companies face when adopting AI and the steps CEOs can take to overcome them. Read ...

Building gender diversity on boards
Celia Huber, Senior Partner in our Silicon Valley office, on how companies can build and benefit from gender diversity on boards. Read more >    Listen to the podcast (duration: 13:54) >...

How to avoid digital strategy pitfalls
Most digital strategies don’t reflect how digital is changing economic fundamentals, industry dynamics, or what it means to compete. Read more >    Listen to the podcast (duration: 23:14) >...


Inside the strategy room: One CEO’s approach
Deanna Mulligan, president and CEO of Guardian Life Insurance, reflects on how she approaches strategy planning in an industry with strong headwinds. Read more >    Listen to the podcast (duration: 14:00) >...