Daniel Coyle

At companies with top-performing cultures, there’s actually slightly more tension because they’re turning toward problems together. In bad cultures, a problem comes up, and people kind of turn away from it, right? In good cultures, they get super interested and turn toward it. They will have vibrant arguments about which idea is best because those arguments are taking place in the bounds of safe connection. … [ Read more ]

Tera Allas, Brooke Weddle

McKinsey research suggests that society is a key source of meaning for employees, along with company, customer, team, and individual. Together, they make up a collective, integrated whole that leaders can address.

Tera Allas, Brooke Weddle

Maslow’s famous hierarchy of needs was both right and wrong at the same time. On the one hand, it recognized that people have many desires in addition to basic bodily needs such as water, food, and shelter. On the other hand, it assumed a fixed hierarchy where psychological needs—such as belonging and self-esteem—became relevant only after basic physical and safety needs were met. However, modern … [ Read more ]

The triple play: Growth, profit, and sustainability

Revenue growth is good. Profitable growth is better. Profitable growth that advances ESG priorities is best. Here’s how outperformers who actively choose growth deliver the growth trifecta.

W. Brian Arthur

Adaptation doesn’t really exist as a quality on its own. Adaptation lies in having at the ready a repertoire of available responses… Adaptation means having a tool kit of backup preparedness: people, plans, responses, ideas, possibilities, attitudes, and equipment that allow you to construct solutions quickly.

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Adaptation requires a mindset that deals with uncertainty. That’s not a mindset so much of seeking ever-increasing profits and … [ Read more ]

W. Brian Arthur

In a very stable world, where you know the probabilities and the risks, you can optimize. But even in that case, I would counsel against optimizing with a narrow criterion. I don’t think that is ever a good idea, because it brings brittleness to a system. This is because when a system is optimized, all its parts need to work properly, and some are going … [ Read more ]

W. Brian Arthur

In a world where we don’t trust the ground we stand on, what really counts is adaptation or resilience.

How bold is your business transformation? A new way to measure progress

Organizations that successfully pull off a high-performing transformation don’t choose between either holistic performance or business reinvention. They pursue both.

How new CEOs can boost their odds of success

A data-driven look at the link between the strategic moves of new CEOs and the performance of their companies highlights the importance of quick action and of adopting an outsider’s perspective.

Investing in middle managers pays off—literally

New research shows that having more top-performing middle managers leads to much better financial outcomes. Here are five actions that can set managers and their organizations up for success.

How CEOs can mitigate compounding risks

When risks combine, the cumulative impact can have existential consequences. But leaders can prevent compounding risks from sneaking up on them by adapting risk processes to manage multiple threats.

Scott Keller

With experience comes pattern recognition and resilience, the ability to separate yourself from individual setbacks enough to see that the far side of failure is success if you reflect on the lessons.

Scott Keller

The best CEOs don’t just tell people, “This is where we’re going,” and expect them to follow. They understand the underlying psychology at play. For example, researchers have done experiments where they give lottery tickets to a group and half get a ticket with an assigned number and the other half gets a blank piece of paper where they write their own number. Then, before … [ Read more ]

A practical guide to new-business building for incumbents

Five lessons for incumbents on how to build and scale new digital ventures—and increase their odds of success.

Cracking the growth code: The ten rules of growth explained

Experts behind the rules of value-creating growth discuss how leaders can apply these insights to their growth strategies.

Deb Roy

When we talk about the format of storytelling, there’s the specific format of the medium—motion and sound, resolution, and aspect ratio—that create a channel within which you have to fit the story. And then there are the diffusion properties that affect where a story can go, how long it’s going to live on, and how it’s going to morph as it passes through the hands … [ Read more ]

Jony Ive

The difference between an idea and a product is that you’ve solved the problems. When someone says to me, “Well, you can’t do this for these reasons,” all it means is that there are problems to be solved. If they can be solved, the idea transitions into becoming a thing. If they can’t, it remains an idea.

Jony Ive

A lot of mistakes are made when you frame a problem, because you could already be dismissing 60 percent, 70 percent of the potential ideas.

Fear factor: Overcoming human barriers to innovation

Worries about failure, criticism, and career impact hold back many people from embracing innovation. Here’s how to create a culture that accounts for the human side of innovation.

What makes a successful CEO?

McKinsey leaders have interviewed hundreds of CEOs and studied performance data on thousands more. We’ve published a number of leading articles, reports, and podcasts on the subject—as well as the 2023 bestselling book CEO Excellence. In this Explainer, we lay out the fundamentals of what it takes to succeed in the top job.