What is a McKinsey office in the most basic strategy terms? There is a military term to describe this.
… It is a forward operating base.
If you think about it, that is exactly what a McKinsey office is. For example, assume McKinsey needs to set up an office in Santiago. This means the firm wants to do work for clients in that region. In a manner of speaking McKinsey wants to bring new ideas to a chaotic situation. The front line is now shifted to Santiago. To protect the firm’s troops and to protect the firm’s lines of supply they need a forward operating base.
In the simplest of terms, any McKinsey office or any consulting office for that matter is a forward operating base.
How important is a forward operating base?
It is critical. If you want to fight a war you need a forward operating base. A forward operating base takes all of the best practices into a real combat situation.
Any McKinsey office is dealing with a lot of stress and challenges. Even if it is an established office you are fighting against other firms who may not have your values and teaching clients the wrong habits. It is a struggle to get clients to see things your way and to do what is good for them.
You have got to fly in specialized teams the same way the military flies in specialized teams. You have to set up a safe environment where consultants can come in to “rest.” You have to “defend the base”. You have to make sure you can pay people. You have to make sure that when you send consultants out there they don’t get harmed or suffer from fatigue.
This is not an exaggeration. Like in any business, there are cases when consultants get harmed.
The analogy to military works very well here.
So keeping the importance of any McKinsey office in mind, Michael and Tom discuss the new policy change introduced by the firm related to the selection of McKinsey office leaders. We discuss this policy change, dive into why it could have been introduced and how it may impact McKinsey.
SIGN UP FOR EMAIL UPDATES BELOW & RECEIVE FREE CASE INTERVIEW TRAINING