This is the 20th podcast for the power sector corporate strategy study we will soon release as part of our Executive Program.

In the Steering Committee meeting this morning we were directly challenged by a member of the committee. This podcast discusses the nature of the challenge and how we responded.

The client raised a concern about our skills and also raised a potential conflict of interest we had not considered.

We unpack the challenge and the thought-process we applied in managing this situation. Ultimately, we also explain why and how alumni of McKinsey and BCG who create boutique firms end up limiting their prospects for growth.

Finally, we will discuss the differences in which conflict can be managed by engaging crowds and individuals. The trick is to engage only one of these groups and for a very unique reason.

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6 responses to Challenged at the Steering Committee

  1. Thanks Nauruz,

    No, the executive was not happy but neither was he important. We cannot spend time pleasing everyone because the reality is that pleasing everyone is a myth and terrible leadership.

    We will publish more images and diagrams when we post the full study. For now, the podcasts do not contain supporting information. I do agree that is the very complex study to follow without material which is one reason we slowed down the release of podcasts versus the 1-a-day model we where following previously.


  2. A very enjoyable podcast, and a good example of a situation around managing a conflict, based on several areas

    1. An important problem is raised (conflict of interest and lack of big brand name). I feel oftentimes when describing a conflict, one doesn’t have an interesting problem to discuss. So the reply technically answers the question, but doesn’t make the interviewer excited or show that the interviewee experienced and solved interesting challenges.

    2. A solution that shows the understanding of work/conversation dynamics, stakeholders’ motives.

    3. Originality. We tend to talk about situations when everyone was happy about the outcome of the conflict. I bet the aforementioned executive wasn’t happy when Michael in its essence told that the question wasn’t relevant to the conversation and worth discussing. Yet, the reply was effective. If you make everyone happy, maybe the conflict wasn’t really a conflict to begin with.

    Michael, the client is a huge company, and the study is pretty sophisticated. It would have helped if we had a visual project map showing where the study is moving, several charts that would sum up the situation. Some of the podcasts are difficult to digest content wise and because they go in a sequence and require listening to previous podcasts.

  3. Thanks Sophia. We will do that.

  4. Hi MIchael,
    Thanks for your reply.

    That would be great about the podcast. I got the idea from this current podcast where you mentioned at around the 6 minute mark you could put together another podcast to address dealing with and presenting sensitive issues.

    For my other questions, thanks for your answers.


  5. Hi Sophia,

    Thanks for the very frequent comments and questions!

    1 – I think these are covered across many, many different podcasts but I will put together a dedicated podcast.

    2 – We unfortunately cannot disclose the country. We have alluded to it in some posts and videos but we have also gone to great lengths to hide the identity. This is a live study and it would be damaging if the information leaked. The trade-off is as follows: lots of realistic detail if we hide the client/country versus very little detail if we disclose the country/client. The name of the client and country is not necessary to fully understand the case.

    3 – I believe his behaviour is isolated. The behaviour of young leaders today is quite impressive. I am always amazed about how capable most young managers and analysts can be. This individual graduated from a weaker school etc., so he tends to want to overcompensate and that comes across as aggression. In essence, his lack of confidence manifests itself as arrogance.

    4 – No, and they should not. If anyone thinks I need consoling then it implies they think I cannot handle the situation which says much about how I manage my image.

    Hope that helps.


  6. Hi Michael,
    This was a great podcast.

    I’ve got a few questions:

    1) Are you able to put together a podcast on how you talk about the “tough topics” without alienating people and being confrontational?

    2) Can you disclose which emerging country are you in? Is it India?

    3 ) About the person who challenged you at the meeting, you said he was younger. Do you think his behavior represents the up and coming youth of today or is his behavior isolated?

    4) Have other committee members spoken to you about his behavior since the meeting?

    Thanks Michael and I’ll send you a private message also.


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