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Inside the Strategy Room

We talk with McKinsey partners and corporate executives on the challenges they face creating lasting strategies in a fast-changing world. We also examine the different ways these executives approach these challenges and the new and innovative ways they think of creating a vision for their enterprises.

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104. Kevin Hostetler of Rotork on accelerating growth

When Kevin Hostetler took the reins of Rotork, a UK-based company that makes industrial flow-control equipment, he immediately launched a multi-year transformation to help the company benefit from trends transforming the industries it serves. In this episode he talks with Anna Koivuniemi, co-leader of McKinsey’s work on growth strategy, about the progress Rotork has made and the challenges of changing the culture. This is an edited transcript of the discussion. Read more > Listen to the podcast (duration: 32:41) >  


11 Nov 2021

Rank #1

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103. Boards and the cloud

As organizations increasingly grapple with digital transformations, large technology investments, and shifts to the cloud, these issues regularly appear on board agendas. In this episode of the Inside the Strategy Room podcast, Steve Van Kuiken, global leader of the McKinsey Technology practice and co-author of a recent article about ways boards can shape the cloud agenda, speaks with two experienced directors about the implications of such a move. David Court sits on the boards of pension investment manager PSP Investments, retailer Canadian Tire, and several other organizations. Liz Lempres is an independent director on the boards of General Mills and Great-West Lifeco, among others. Read more > Listen to the podcast (duration: 45:35) >  


28 Oct 2021

Rank #2

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102. Improving strategic outcomes with advanced analytics

In this episode, we explore how digital analytics is revolutionizing strategy. Nicholas Northcote, who for years led McKinsey’s research on strategic decision making, is joined by Sagie Davidovich, the co-founder and CEO of SparkBeyond, a McKinsey partner company that operates an AI-driven analytics platform, and Sasha Vesuvala, who leads much of McKinsey’s work in applying advanced analytics to strategy and growth-related questions. Our conversation is based on the recent McKinsey.com article. ‘The strategy-analytics revolution’.   Read more > Listen to the podcast (duration: 27:48) >  


20 Oct 2021

Rank #3

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101. The Committed Innovator: A conversation with Loonshots author Safi Bahcall

Companies looking to bring breakthrough innovations to life need the right organizational structures and incentives in place. In his book Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries (St. Martin’s Press, March 2019), Safi Bahcall, a former biotech CEO who now helps organizations innovate, explains what that requires. In this episode, he talks with Erik Roth, leader of McKinsey’s innovation work globally, about why some great ideas changed the world and others failed to take off. Read more > Listen to the podcast (duration: 50:13) >  


14 Oct 2021

Rank #4

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The corporation in the 21st century

What responsibilities does business have to society and what benefits do companies deliver to stakeholders and society at large? In this episode of the Inside the Strategy Room podcast, two authors of a new McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) report share recent research on how the value companies bring to economies, societies, and households has changed over the past quarter century. Michael Birshan is the global co-leader of the Strategy and Corporate Finance practice while Clarisse Magnin-Mallez leads the Consumer Packaged Goods and Retail practices in Africa, Europe, and the Middle East and is McKinsey’s managing partner in France. The report they co-authored is the first in a series MGI will publish on companies in the 21st century. Read more > Listen to the podcast (duration: 33:42) >  


7 Oct 2021

Rank #5

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Agile business portfolio management

In business, breaking up is hard to do. While divesting businesses in a timely manner is an essential aspect of effective portfolio management, companies tend to struggle with separation decisions. In this episode, three experts discuss how to determine which businesses to strengthen and which to divest and explain how to make your M&A strategy nimble enough to keep up with increasingly dynamic markets. Obi Ezekoye, a leader in the Strategy and Corporate Finance practice, and Anthony Luu, an expert in M&A and strategy transformations, are co-authors of a recent article, “Divesting with Agility.” They are joined by Andy West, the global co-leader of McKinsey’s M&A practice and co-author of ‘Why you’ve got to put your portfolio on the move.’ Read more > Listen to the podcast (duration: 37:31) >  


9 Sep 2021

Rank #6

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Innovation—the launchpad out of the crisis

As companies prepare for the recovery from the pandemic, many leaders hope innovation will set them up for the next phase of growth. In this episode, Laura Furstenthal, whose client work focuses on healthcare organizations and innovation transformations, and Erik Roth, leader of McKinsey’s global innovation practice, explain how to establish a sustainable innovation process. Read more > Listen to the podcast (duration: 27:07) >  


24 Aug 2021

Rank #7

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The making of a megadeal: Howard Ungerleider on the merger of Dow and DuPont

The combination of Dow Chemical and DuPont in 2017, followed by a split into three separate companies, was a huge and highly complex transaction that transformed the chemical industry landscape. In this episode, Howard Ungerleider, president and CFO of Dow, explains how the management teams of the two global giants approached the merger that produced three market-leading players. He spoke with John Warner, who co-leads McKinsey’s Global Energy and Materials practice, during a virtual event we recently hosted for finance executives. Read more > Listen to the podcast (duration: 30:14) >  


20 Aug 2021

Rank #8

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Boards, Talent, and Culture

Board members are increasingly challenging management to ensure the organization’s talent pipeline can meet the needs of the strategy. In this episode, we continue our series on board perspectives by looking at the board’s role in helping organizations develop the right talent and culture. To explore this topic, Frithjof Lund, the global leader of McKinsey’s board services work, speaks with two experts on governance and organization. Hugo Bague, a former group executive at Rio Tinto, is a non-executive director on the board of Jones Lang Lasalle (JLL), a global real estate services firm, where he chairs the compensation committee. Mary Meaney is a globally recognized leader on change management and organizational transformations who until recently co-led the global organization practice and served on McKinsey’s global governance board. Read more > Listen to the podcast (duration: 36:36) >  


29 Jul 2021

Rank #9

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The Committed Innovator: A conversation with Amy Brooks of the NBA

The COVID-19 pandemic forced the National Basketball Association (NBA) to develop new ways to engage with fans. Amy Brooks is the NBA’s first chief innovation officer. She oversees innovation initiatives across four leagues—the NBA, the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), the NBA G League (minor league), and the esports NBA 2K League—and has used the difficulties of the pandemic as an opportunity to experiment. In this episode of our Committed Innovator series, she shares with McKinsey’s innovation leader Erik Roth her organization’s numerous new projects that have spurred growth despite unprecedented constraints around live games. Read more > Listen to the podcast (duration: 32:01) >  


19 Jul 2021

Rank #10