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The McKinsey Perception of Culture, Values, and Performance


The McKinsey Perception of Culture, Values, and Performance


In this article, Paul Millerd explains why working at McKinsey changed how he thought about organizations, culture, values and the idea of “high performance”.

Driving to work that day I was filled with excitement. It was not a feeling I had associated with work in the past.As I drove into the parking garage, I still had that rush of excitement. I found myself walking faster than usual from the parking garage into the office building. As I climbed the stairs all I could think about was getting to my desk and jumping into the work I left the night before.

Everyone should be so lucky to be this excited to get to work.

Landing my dream job

When I arrived at McKinsey in 2008, I had no idea what I was getting into. It had merely been a dream hatched a couple years earlier to break into consulting. By some combination of preparation, luck and an unwillingness to give up — the top consulting firm in the world took a chance on me.

I worked there for two years and the experience transformed the way I thought about organizations, culture, values and the idea of “high-performance”.

It also altered the expectations of myself and made me realize that people are capable of more than they believe and that individual performance is a as much a result of environment as someone’s skills and capabilities.

Since leaving McKinsey and seeing many other companies and firms fail to grasp the underlying reasons behind a successful culture, I have been obsessed with trying to make sense and explain what McKinsey does differently.

This is my attempt.

Marving Bower & The McKinsey Persona

To understand McKinsey, you need to first understand Marvin Bower. Even though McKinsey was founded by James O. McKinsey, the firm’s soul and culture are a result of the passion of Marvin Bower.

After McKinsey passed away in 1937, Bower took over the New York arm of the firm and it was renamed McKinsey & Company in 1939. Over the next 24 years, when Bower turned 60, he would reshape the company into the powerful global brand it remains until this day.

Key points include:

  • Marving Bower & The McKinsey Persona

  • What was special about McKinsey

  • McKinsey’s secret formula for success

Read the full article,

Decoding McKinsey’s Culture of High-Performance: Building A Lasting Firm, on