Book Review: The McKinsey Edge

Category: [Corporate rat race]

Tag: [Books]


2min read

The McKinsey Edge by Shu Hattori is a collection of “principles” that the author collected while he was at consultant at McKinsey. The forty-odd principles in the book, while easily understood, stood out when they are collated together in a single book, as many productivity and professional hacks strung together. A rather interesting read.

Following are his principles divided into four chapters, and in bold are those that I thought to be particularly useful, and would like to expound on them in future writings.

Building the Better Self

  1. Focus on what really matters
  2. Start with the hard stuff in the morning
  3. Catch small signals and make a difference
  4. Have a 30-second answer to everything
  5. Frontload your project
  6. Create the right end output image
  7. Smile when you are under stress
  8. Go beyond your self-perceived limit
  9. Always imagine the worst-case scenario
  10. Start following up
  11. Push back with less emotion
  12. Be flexible on the perception of your passion
  13. “What would Marvin do?” Find your role models
  14. Know what gives your the most energy in your day
  15. Go jogging to smell the flowers
  16. Create a commitment plan

Growing with Others

  1. Always memorize the first three sentences of a presentation
  2. Communicate using fewer words
  3. Pause three seconds before answering difficult questions
  4. Question more and talk less
  5. Turn no into yes
  6. Don’t show half-baked output
  7. Instantly find a connection in the room
  8. Be a giver, not a receiver
  9. Find the best intent in people
  10. Learn team member’s defining moments and personal sides
  11. Think of everyone as a helpful individual, not a “resource”
  12. Go out for a meal with interesting people every week
  13. Consciously gauge your people
  14. Assign team members meaningful tasks
  15. Create followership through deliberate on-the-job coaching
  16. Deliver feedback using positive criticism
  17. Please your assistants and support staff

Execlling in Process Management

  1. Always prepare an agenda before meetings
  2. Create “four boxes” to dos
  3. Focus on outcomes not activities
  4. Know your meeting modes in advance
  5. Proactively manage e-mail communication using the 5D rules
  6. Speak up as early as possible
  7. Create a minimalist presentation toolkit
  8. Create an easy-to-use template for updates

Going the Extra mile

  1. Give away knowledge and tools unsparingly
  2. Get rid of your physical barriers
  3. Ask the second order questions
  4. Learn to write fewer notes
  5. Prepare to renew your life
  6. Create your own profile as a leader