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The McKinsey Perception of Culture, Values, and Performance

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The McKinsey Perception of Culture, Values, and Performance

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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 StrategyU.com.