Cover image of The Strategy Skills Podcast: Management Consulting | Strategy, Operations & Implementation | Critical Thinking
(40)

Rank #69 in Careers category

Business
Education
Careers

The Strategy Skills Podcast: Management Consulting | Strategy, Operations & Implementation | Critical Thinking

Updated 4 days ago

Rank #69 in Careers category

Business
Education
Careers
Read more

The Strategy Skills Podcast is the channel where strategy partners teach you the tools and techniques to solve mankind’s greatest problems. Learn all the skills of McKinsey and BCG consultants without having to work at a consulting firm. The podcast teaches both technical analyses and soft skills like communication.Each week we discuss concepts to help listeners advance their strategy, operations and implementation skills, enhance their critical thinking ability and build their executive presence. We also dissect individual consulting studies in great detail so you can replicate them with confidence. www.firmsconsulting.com www.strategytraining.com

Read more

The Strategy Skills Podcast is the channel where strategy partners teach you the tools and techniques to solve mankind’s greatest problems. Learn all the skills of McKinsey and BCG consultants without having to work at a consulting firm. The podcast teaches both technical analyses and soft skills like communication.Each week we discuss concepts to help listeners advance their strategy, operations and implementation skills, enhance their critical thinking ability and build their executive presence. We also dissect individual consulting studies in great detail so you can replicate them with confidence. www.firmsconsulting.com www.strategytraining.com

iTunes Ratings

40 Ratings
Average Ratings
33
3
1
0
3

The podcast I didn’t know I needed

By mkduran - Nov 15 2018
Read more
As an older undergraduate student and operations manager, I am finding value in every podcast here so far and in the entire series on the Case Interviews podcast. Today I cited “The Organizational Design Stream” in a discussion assignment for a class. At work I have been more cognizant of how I communicate to get my message across in a concise and more effective manner. Thank you Michael and FC team!

great podcast

By Tom Morkes - Apr 01 2016
Read more
great podcast, quality content. I think michael is a great host, and recommend this podcast highly!

iTunes Ratings

40 Ratings
Average Ratings
33
3
1
0
3

The podcast I didn’t know I needed

By mkduran - Nov 15 2018
Read more
As an older undergraduate student and operations manager, I am finding value in every podcast here so far and in the entire series on the Case Interviews podcast. Today I cited “The Organizational Design Stream” in a discussion assignment for a class. At work I have been more cognizant of how I communicate to get my message across in a concise and more effective manner. Thank you Michael and FC team!

great podcast

By Tom Morkes - Apr 01 2016
Read more
great podcast, quality content. I think michael is a great host, and recommend this podcast highly!

Listen to:

Cover image of The Strategy Skills Podcast: Management Consulting | Strategy, Operations & Implementation | Critical Thinking

The Strategy Skills Podcast: Management Consulting | Strategy, Operations & Implementation | Critical Thinking

Updated 4 days ago

Read more

The Strategy Skills Podcast is the channel where strategy partners teach you the tools and techniques to solve mankind’s greatest problems. Learn all the skills of McKinsey and BCG consultants without having to work at a consulting firm. The podcast teaches both technical analyses and soft skills like communication.Each week we discuss concepts to help listeners advance their strategy, operations and implementation skills, enhance their critical thinking ability and build their executive presence. We also dissect individual consulting studies in great detail so you can replicate them with confidence. www.firmsconsulting.com www.strategytraining.com

1: Bill Matassoni on Competitive and Comparative Advantage, Why Strategy is Less Analytic than it Seems and how McKinsey Really Makes Decisions

Podcast cover
Read more

One of the great privileges of our unique network is that we have access to some of the most eminent former partners like Kevin Coyne and Bill Matassoni. We adopt their insights when designing our case training and strategy training programs. Our goal at Firmsconsulting is to allow our members access to the partners from whom we seek advise. 

This is an exclusive interview that Bill Matassoni recently had with Firmsconsulting where he shared some counter-intuitive concepts you will not hear anywhere else.

Bill Matassoni was the partner who was involved in developing and implementing the McKinsey philosophy that helped the firm pull ahead of BCG in the 1980s and 1990s. He was thereafter the partner who led BCG's efforts to overtake McKinsey.

This insightful, inspiring and counter intuitive podcast explains the steps McKinsey took in the 1980s to reposition the firm.

Planning is meaningless unless you know what to plan. You need a point of differentiation and you need to consistently drive that difference.

Competitive advantage is wrong to pursue. You need to look for comparative advantage. 

See if you can extract those lessons from this podcast.

Bill Matassoni started his career in management consulting in 1980 when he joined McKinsey & Company. He was a partner there for almost 20 years, focusing on the branding of professional services. He was responsible for building McKinsey’s reputation and protecting its brand, which included publishing the McKinsey Quarterly. In doing so he worked closely with many of his colleagues worldwide including Tom Peters, Jon Katzenbach, Kenichi Ohmai, John Sawhill, John Stucky, and John Hagel.

He was also responsible for much of McKinsey’s internal communications. This included the creation of McKinsey’s systems to manage and disseminate its practice knowledge. These efforts are described in an HBR case study.

He left McKinsey to join Mitchell Madison Group, a strategy consulting firm he helped to take public through its sale to USWeb/CKS in 1999. He then joined The Boston Consulting Group, where he headed for over five years a group responsible for innovation, marketing and communications.

As at McKinsey, Bill Matassoni worked closely with several of BCG’s thought leaders — George Stalk, Michael Silverstein, Philip Evans, Yves Morieux, Hal Sirkin and others — to develop their ideas and turn them into consulting assignments. Bill Matassoni retired from BCG a few years ago and founded The Glass House Group, a consulting firm that helps professional service firms with branding and marketing issues. At one of his clients, Tapestry Networks, Bill has become a senior advisor. 

Bill Matassoni is a graduate of Phillips Andover (1964), Harvard College (B.A. Literature, 1968) and Harvard Business School (M.B.A., 1975).

For many years Bill Matassoni was on the board of trustees of United Way of America and United Way International. He is now on the board of trustees of First Book and a senior advisor to Ashoka, an organization that invests in social entrepreneurs. He is also on the Board of Advisors of The Demand Institute, a non-profit funded by The Conference Board and Nielsen. He remains interested in the management and marketing of professional services firms, social marketing and healthcare reform.

If you have never had the opportunity to meet Marvin Bower, and that would apply to most of McKinsey's current partners, Bill's thinking is the second best thing to have access to.

In this wide ranging interview, Bill Matassoni and I discuss the following about the strategy, culture, values, mistakes and problems of McKinsey and BCG: 

McKinsey & Co.

  • How a partner's background shapes his or her viewpoint
  • The old influence of HBR on a consulting brand's position
  • Bill's unconventional path into McKinsey and BCG
  • Managing versus inspiring other senior partners
  • Working with senior partners from McKinsey like Ron Daniels, Fred Gluck, Herb Ensinger, Kenichi Ohmae, Tom Peters, Bob Waterman, Lowell Bryan, Tom Steiner and Marvin Bower
  • Insightful new anecdotes and stories not published before
  • How to get partners to build a firm's position and knowledge
  • Competitive advantage in management consulting
  • The problem with trying to position a firm as a consulting firm
  • McKinsey problems in recent times and lack of differentiation
  • Why strategy is less analytic than it seems
  • WSJ vs. The Economist vs. HBR for eminence
  • The Fortune Magazine story that changed McKinsey's profile
  • What is McKinsey's point of differentiation - it is not analytics or strategy
  • How to build a leadership factory
  • Why all the books about McKinsey, like "The Firm", completely miss the mark
  • Anecdotes about Marvin Bower
  • Using actions to build principles versus using principles to build actions
  • The problem with marketing in consulting
  • How McKinsey really makes decisions and tests them aka how to know when you are junior
  • How to bring about change in traditional businesses with deep histories

BCG

  • The difference between BCG and McKinsey
  • BCG's strengths and weaknesses
  • What is BCG's culture
  • How positioning drives operational decisions
  • Managing practice meetings

And much, much more.

If you found this piece interesting, please post comments and questions. We will be interviewing other very senior ex-partners of McKinsey and BCG, and will use these comments as an input for future interviews.

We also use comments and social shares to determine if a series should be pursued. If you would like us to interview another BCG or McKinsey ex-partner, corporate executive or renowned athlete please let us know.

Hope you enjoyed it. 

Michael

Jul 21 2015

1hr 8mins

Play

83: Netflix's strategy. Discussion with Bill Matassoni (former McKinsey and BCG senior partner)

Podcast cover
Read more
PLEASE KINDLY NOTE: The sound was not very clear at times but we decided to still release this free podcast so those interested can have an opportunity to hear this discussion.

Every now and then, someone comes along and makes the subject of #management both fun and insightful. That’s what Bill Matassoni has done in his memoir—a combination of compelling stories and contrarian substance—that covers his forty-year career selling what he calls “ephemeral things.” In addition to the memoir, Bill plays host to a series of videos and podcasts that are entertaining, irreverent, and filled with his conviction that #marketing is the primary driver of progress in both commercial and social #markets. We released Bill Matassoni's memoir and documentary series, as well as number of free podcasts. If you would like to read a bonus chapter from Bill's memoir, view advance content and receive other exclusive strategy material prepared by former partners from major consulting firms, you can sign up for email updates.

Strategy Skills iTunes channel is ranked among top 5-10 in many countries around the world for #careers.

https://www.firmsconsulting.com

May 06 2019

25mins

Play

59: What is Corporate Strategy

Podcast cover
Read more

Corporate strategy is very different from other types of strategy. In this video podcast we explain why.

Click here to see the full study and here to see the merger study and market entry study.

SIGN UP FOR EMAIL UPDATES HERE & RECEIVE FREE STRATEGY TRAINING

STAY IN TOUCH: Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

IF WANT TO LEARN FROM FORMER STRATEGY PARTNERS REFER TO THE FIRMSCONSULTING ORIGINAL TRAINING PROGRAMS.

Aug 05 2016

12mins

Play

68. How To Improve Your Performance, The Right Way

Podcast cover
Read more

In this 68th and new episode of the Strategy Skills complimentary podcast, audio version, we introduce you to an amazing neuroscientist, Dr. Wendy Suzuki. Wendy and Michael discuss how much many of us compromise our cognition and what can be done to improve our performance. You may be able to brag about that 1 a.m. email but if you could monitor your level of cognition you would quickly see, "Oh my God! This is not good." What is it doing for your brain? What is it doing for your executive functions in the prefrontal cortex? Leadership is not just about managing a team and setting goals for them. This is such a one-dimensional definition of leadership. Leadership is whether you can be fulfilled by what you are doing, be able to get up in the morning and not kill yourself in the process of meeting a goal that some shareholder wants you to meet. You have to distinguish between health and performance. You can be performing quite high but you can be doing some dangerous things to push those numbers up, or to push that productivity up. Just because you are performing well does not mean you are doing it in a sustainable way. If you enjoy the conversation and would like to learn more from Wendy, we recommend you read her engaging and practical book "Healthy Brain, Happy Life: A Personal Program to Activate Your Brain and Do Everything Better."

SIGN UP FOR EMAIL UPDATES HERE & RECEIVE FREE STRATEGY TRAINING

STAY IN TOUCH: Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

IF WANT TO LEARN FROM FORMER STRATEGY PARTNERS REFER TO THE FIRMSCONSULTING ORIGINAL TRAINING PROGRAMS.

Oct 18 2017

1hr 15mins

Play

61: How to Conduct a Value Chain Analysis

Podcast cover
Read more

In this episode of the strategy skills podcast we take a brief look at how to conduct a value chain analysis. 

Click here to see the full study and here to see the merger study and market entry study.

SIGN UP FOR EMAIL UPDATES HERE & RECEIVE FREE STRATEGY TRAINING

STAY IN TOUCH: Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

IF WANT TO LEARN FROM FORMER STRATEGY PARTNERS REFER TO THE FIRMSCONSULTING ORIGINAL TRAINING PROGRAMS.

Aug 28 2016

8mins

Play

48: What is the Big Picture Thinking?

Podcast cover
Read more

Welcome to the 45th podcast on the Corporate Strategy & Transformation study and we remain in week 4.

At least once in your life you would have received feedback to be a more big picture thinker. The problem is that everyone will have a different definition of big picture thinking and many of the definitions are vague, counter-intuitive or wrong.

Based on advising some of the consultants on the study, this podcast provides a very simple, intuitive, practical and correct definition of the big picture concept. It also explains why it is so important and how to use it.

Keep in mind that this study is being updated on our website where you can view the training videos and power point slides - the next update is scheduled for this month. This is a huge study and will offer the most realistic training for both consultants and industry professionals. Pure corporate strategy studies are rare. This is a unique training opportunity.

Click here to see the full study and here to see the merger study and market entry study.

SIGN UP FOR EMAIL UPDATES HERE & RECEIVE FREE STRATEGY TRAINING

COME HANG OUT WITH US: Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

WANT TO LEARN FROM FORMER STRATEGY PARTNERS? REFER TO THE FIRMSCONSULTING ORIGINAL TRAINING PROGRAMS.

Apr 05 2016

12mins

Play

52: Conditions for great powerpoint slides

Podcast cover
Read more

Welcome to the 49th podcast on the Corporate Strategy & Transformation study.

This podcast is for those who have mastered all the basics on slide design and formatting. In this podcast we discuss how to determine if your powerpoint slides are influential on a study. Influential powerpoint slides may not be the most beautiful pieces of work or even the ones with the most effort, though it is usually at least the latter.

Click here to see the full study and here to see the merger study and market entry study.

If you enjoyed this conversation we will be so grateful if you jump over to iTunes and share a quick review. It helps more people find us. 

Also a huge thank you for making “Strategy Skills” one of the most popular podcasts in the world for careers. 

SIGN UP FOR EMAIL UPDATES HERE & RECEIVE FREE STRATEGY TRAINING

COME HANG OUT WITH US: Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

WANT TO LEARN FROM FORMER STRATEGY PARTNERS? REFER TO THE FIRMSCONSULTING ORIGINAL TRAINING PROGRAMS.

May 17 2016

16mins

Play

42: Consulting: Confidence & Getting Results

Podcast cover
Read more

In today’s podcast we step away from Corporate Strategy & Transformation study and discuss something that affects every single consultant in the world. And that is the issue of confidence, or even arrogance, and the role it plays in getting results on a consulting engagement.

We discuss the role confidence plays in your career. We look at what actually creates competitive advantage in your career. We further look at an example that showcases the limited value of confidence on a consulting engagement. 

SIGN UP FOR EMAIL UPDATES HERE & RECEIVE FREE STRATEGY TRAINING

COME HANG OUT WITH US: Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

For more details on how to conduct strategy, operations or implementation consulting studies refer to the Firmsconsulting Original Training Programs.

Feb 09 2016

17mins

Play

2: Leadership Challenges on the Study

Podcast cover
Read more

The power sector corporate strategy study is now underway and is scheduled to be released later this year, as part of our Executive Program. This is the first of many podcasts to discuss the progress in the power sector study, including paramount challenges and choices the client and the team are facing.

We decided not to live blog this study. We decided to put out frequent, almost daily, podcasts and a stream of articles explaining the issues. Given the intensity of the study, we hope to keep to this schedule and will do our very best, but forgive us if we are forced to skip many days. In fact, during one podcast recording session, the power went out!

In this first podcast, we delve into intricacies of the power sector in North Africa / Southern Europe. We also discuss the incredibly difficult choices countries and companies have to face in this rapidly growing resources strapped part of the world, along with mind-numbing permutations for each option and the huge costs involved. A single power station can cost over a billion dollars.

We also zoom in on the personal / leadership challenges the senior management team, including the CEO, often face. These problems are usually swept under the rug by companies and consulting firms. Yet, failure to address these challenges results in enormous human and financial cost. In fact, on a study such as this the trade-off for the management team is usually career success vs. personal happiness. We find that clients struggle to achieve both. They typically focus on career success through the study, while sacrificing personal happiness which becomes corrosive to their careers in the long-term. They typically burnout as a result of this.

We discuss some of the changes we introduced at Firmsconsulting to deal with this trade-off for clients.

Michael Boricki

www.firmsconsulting.com

Jul 28 2015

24mins

Play

30: What is a Conceptual Thinker?

Podcast cover
Read more

This podcast explains what is a conceptual thinker and how to demonstrate this skill.

If you work at any major consulting firm, and especially if you want to be promoted, you must prove you are a conceptual thinker. The only problem is that it is hard to define the word conceptual.

Once you understand this definition, things will be much easier for you.

In this podcast I explain a similar problem experienced by a consultant on the Corporate Strategy & Transformation study and how I helped them improve. The definition also explains why conceptual thinker is a functional specialist (in strategy, operations, corporate finance etc.) and almost never specialist in sectors.

If you enjoyed this conversation we will be so grateful if you jump over to iTunes and share a quick review. It helps more people find us. 

SIGN UP FOR EMAIL UPDATES & RECEIVE FREE STRATEGY TRAINING: www.firmsconsulting.com

COME HANG OUT WITH US: Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

Oct 27 2015

11mins

Play

67. Your Body Image Impacts Your Confidence, Which Impacts Your Leadership

Podcast cover
Read more

In this 67th and new episode of the complimentary Strategy Skills podcast, audio version, we continue to extract themes and lessons from the critical visioning/strategy workshop. Things you may not have considered that are important. Things that you may realize are important but you may not know how to address. And, of course, everything we discuss is covered in a lot more detail in the videos as part of the actual Corporate Strategy & Transformation study (available exclusively to FC Insiders).  Today's episode is covering a topic which we believe is very important and we think will resonate with everyone. As always, we focus on critical yet overlooked insights. 

SIGN UP FOR EMAIL UPDATES HERE & RECEIVE FREE STRATEGY TRAINING

STAY IN TOUCH: Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

IF WANT TO LEARN FROM FORMER STRATEGY PARTNERS REFER TO THE FIRMSCONSULTING ORIGINAL TRAINING PROGRAMS.

Oct 08 2017

23mins

Play

19: How to Communicate Recommendations

Podcast cover
Read more

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

This podcast discusses how to communicate recommendations which are radical in nature.

If the recommendations are presented too early, they are hypotheses with little data backing them and they can be easily challenged.

If the recommendations are presented at the end, it shocks the client and there likely will be little agreement from the client.

The solution is to present early but to present them as hypotheses. That seems easy, but this podcast explains the mistakes in communication made when most consultants present complex hypotheses very early, and how to fix them.

You will learn that communication, your choice of words and the way you emphasize them can dramatically alter the way the client interprets what you are saying. In fact, the emphasis will radically alter the meaning.

COME HANG OUT WITH US: Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

www.firmsconsulting.com

Sep 03 2015

14mins

Play

81: How to convert insights into Strategy Maps

Podcast cover
Read more

Today we have a treat for members who are not Insiders (Insiders have had access to this and thousands of similar videos for a long time). We released a new video episode of the Strategy Skills podcast (number 81) this week.

How to convert insights into Strategy Maps is a powerful tool to create prescriptive / forecasting models to both explain and predict strategy options. This is how to move from being a consultant to thinking and presenting like a partner. It is complimentary and available on iTunes, Youtube, Spotify and many other podcast players.

Video version of this episode is available on youtube - https://youtu.be/hcStB7fjsJ0

If you would like to access episodes from our strategy training programs and receive other exclusive strategy material, you can sign up for FC community email updates on 

http://www.marketingsavestheworld.com

or

https://www.firmsconsulting.com

Mar 19 2019

24mins

Play

36: The Organizational Design Stream

Podcast cover
Read more

Welcome to the 33rd podcast on the Corporate Strategy & Transformation study. In this podcast we discuss the tough work being done by the Organizational Design team. We discuss the three tensions which drive all Organizational Design recommendations and the trade-offs required. We also discuss the most important requirement to implement a new culture and structure at any company, and it is quite simple to do. As you will see, the Organizational Design stream is struggling on the study. Click here to see the full Corporate Strategy & Transformation study and here to see the merger study and market entry study.

SIGN UP FOR EMAIL UPDATES HERE & RECEIVE FREE STRATEGY TRAINING

COME HANG OUT WITH US: Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

Dec 08 2015

15mins

Play

37: Visioning Workshop Overview

Podcast cover
Read more

Welcome to the 34th podcast on the Corporate Strategy & Transformation study and a major focus on Week 4 over the next few podcasts. This is a big week since it is the first visioning workshop with a client.

This week is important. If you ever want to run strategy planning for a Fortune 500 company, you must understand this process very, very well.

If you do not understand this process, you will struggle to run strategy planning exercises for the CEO, board or management committee. We discuss the overall visioning process in this workshop and in the subsequent podcasts discuss each component of the workshop in more detail. Click here to see the full study and here to see the merger study and market entry study.

SIGN UP FOR EMAIL UPDATES HERE & RECEIVE FREE STRATEGY TRAINING

COME HANG OUT WITH US: Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

Dec 15 2015

18mins

Play

75: Interview with Bill Matassoni

Podcast cover
Read more

Every now and then, someone comes along and makes the subject of management both fun and insightful. That’s what Bill Matassoni has done in his memoir—a combination of compelling stories and contrarian substance—that covers his forty-year career selling what he calls “ephemeral things.” In addition to the memoir, Bill plays host to a series of videos that are entertaining, irreverent, and filled with his conviction that marketing is the primary driver of progress in both commercial and social markets. We will soon release Bill Matassoni's memoir and documentary series. If you would like to read a bonus chapter, view advance content and receive other exclusive strategy material, please sign up below.

http://www.marketingsavestheworld.com or https://www.firmsconsulting.com

Nov 30 2018

46mins

Play

63. How To Complete Logical Case Studies?

Podcast cover
Read more

In this 63rd and new episode of the Strategy Skills podcast, video version, we discuss how to complete logical case studies.

SIGN UP FOR EMAIL UPDATES HERE & RECEIVE FREE STRATEGY TRAINING

STAY IN TOUCH: Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

IF WANT TO LEARN FROM FORMER STRATEGY PARTNERS REFER TO THE FIRMSCONSULTING ORIGINAL TRAINING PROGRAMS.

Apr 27 2017

7mins

Play

28: Managing the Big Picture vs. Details

Podcast cover
Read more

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

In just the last week we have had several issues erupt on the study.

(1) A rival (?) firm has been appointed at the parent to potentially have oversight of the study.

(2) The power outages are escalating while EI wants to double-down on investments which are not core to its likely future.

(3) The unions are challenging the management skills analyses.

(4) A budding romance has left our strategy team down one person with some liabilities to manage.

All of these issues suck up a lot of management and partner time. They take time away from the study itself and can quickly derail the team, or slow down the momentum.

In this podcast I discuss the process I use to manage all these issues while also keeping the team fully focused on the task at hand. This is one of those important podcasts where we discuss the critical soft skills to use when things never go according to plan.

Pay careful attention to how ethical decisions are made. A common myth is that being ethical implies being too easy or showing too much empathy. They are not the same things.

If you would like to learn more about the core issues and analytic approach in this study, read this summary of “Profit from the Core” by Chris Zook who leads Bain’s strategy practice.

SIGN UP FOR EMAIL UPDATES AND RECEIVE FREE TRAINING: www.firmsconsulting.com

COME HANG OUT WITH US: Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

Oct 14 2015

15mins

Play

58: Structure of the Visioning Workshop

Podcast cover
Read more

In this podcast we go back to the visioning workshop part of the study and re-visit some of the most important points you need to keep in mind.

Click here to see the full study and here to see the merger study and market entry study.

SIGN UP FOR EMAIL UPDATES HERE & RECEIVE FREE STRATEGY TRAINING

STAY IN TOUCH: Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

IF WANT TO LEARN FROM FORMER STRATEGY PARTNERS REFER TO THE FIRMSCONSULTING ORIGINAL TRAINING PROGRAMS.

Jul 23 2016

11mins

Play

35: 3 Career Path Options for Consulting Partners

Podcast cover
Read more

In this podcast we discuss the 3 career path options that consultants face once they become partners. We discuss each career path and what it means for a consultant's career. These are differences that are crucial to know and understand because partner career paths that appear to be more attractive often lead to disappointing results. For example, did you know it is a really bad idea to emulate the career path of all the McKinsey and BCG partners who appear in the McKinsey Quarterly, BCG perspectives and HBR? This counter-intuitive podcast will explain why.

Many consultants don't spend enough time analyzing and considering the implications of following each career path. They take a superficial look at who are the partners most known and respected within the firm, and try to emulate those partners. Yet, down the road, they often end up at a dead end.

We further address which partner career path you should follow if your goal is to become a CEO one day.

SIGN UP FOR EMAIL UPDATES HERE & RECEIVE FREE STRATEGY TRAINING

COME HANG OUT WITH US: Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

Dec 01 2015

14mins

Play

1: Bill Matassoni on Competitive and Comparative Advantage, Why Strategy is Less Analytic than it Seems and how McKinsey Really Makes Decisions

Podcast cover
Read more

One of the great privileges of our unique network is that we have access to some of the most eminent former partners like Kevin Coyne and Bill Matassoni. We adopt their insights when designing our case training and strategy training programs. Our goal at Firmsconsulting is to allow our members access to the partners from whom we seek advise. 

This is an exclusive interview that Bill Matassoni recently had with Firmsconsulting where he shared some counter-intuitive concepts you will not hear anywhere else.

Bill Matassoni was the partner who was involved in developing and implementing the McKinsey philosophy that helped the firm pull ahead of BCG in the 1980s and 1990s. He was thereafter the partner who led BCG's efforts to overtake McKinsey.

This insightful, inspiring and counter intuitive podcast explains the steps McKinsey took in the 1980s to reposition the firm.

Planning is meaningless unless you know what to plan. You need a point of differentiation and you need to consistently drive that difference.

Competitive advantage is wrong to pursue. You need to look for comparative advantage. 

See if you can extract those lessons from this podcast.

Bill Matassoni started his career in management consulting in 1980 when he joined McKinsey & Company. He was a partner there for almost 20 years, focusing on the branding of professional services. He was responsible for building McKinsey’s reputation and protecting its brand, which included publishing the McKinsey Quarterly. In doing so he worked closely with many of his colleagues worldwide including Tom Peters, Jon Katzenbach, Kenichi Ohmai, John Sawhill, John Stucky, and John Hagel.

He was also responsible for much of McKinsey’s internal communications. This included the creation of McKinsey’s systems to manage and disseminate its practice knowledge. These efforts are described in an HBR case study.

He left McKinsey to join Mitchell Madison Group, a strategy consulting firm he helped to take public through its sale to USWeb/CKS in 1999. He then joined The Boston Consulting Group, where he headed for over five years a group responsible for innovation, marketing and communications.

As at McKinsey, Bill Matassoni worked closely with several of BCG’s thought leaders — George Stalk, Michael Silverstein, Philip Evans, Yves Morieux, Hal Sirkin and others — to develop their ideas and turn them into consulting assignments. Bill Matassoni retired from BCG a few years ago and founded The Glass House Group, a consulting firm that helps professional service firms with branding and marketing issues. At one of his clients, Tapestry Networks, Bill has become a senior advisor. 

Bill Matassoni is a graduate of Phillips Andover (1964), Harvard College (B.A. Literature, 1968) and Harvard Business School (M.B.A., 1975).

For many years Bill Matassoni was on the board of trustees of United Way of America and United Way International. He is now on the board of trustees of First Book and a senior advisor to Ashoka, an organization that invests in social entrepreneurs. He is also on the Board of Advisors of The Demand Institute, a non-profit funded by The Conference Board and Nielsen. He remains interested in the management and marketing of professional services firms, social marketing and healthcare reform.

If you have never had the opportunity to meet Marvin Bower, and that would apply to most of McKinsey's current partners, Bill's thinking is the second best thing to have access to.

In this wide ranging interview, Bill Matassoni and I discuss the following about the strategy, culture, values, mistakes and problems of McKinsey and BCG: 

McKinsey & Co.

  • How a partner's background shapes his or her viewpoint
  • The old influence of HBR on a consulting brand's position
  • Bill's unconventional path into McKinsey and BCG
  • Managing versus inspiring other senior partners
  • Working with senior partners from McKinsey like Ron Daniels, Fred Gluck, Herb Ensinger, Kenichi Ohmae, Tom Peters, Bob Waterman, Lowell Bryan, Tom Steiner and Marvin Bower
  • Insightful new anecdotes and stories not published before
  • How to get partners to build a firm's position and knowledge
  • Competitive advantage in management consulting
  • The problem with trying to position a firm as a consulting firm
  • McKinsey problems in recent times and lack of differentiation
  • Why strategy is less analytic than it seems
  • WSJ vs. The Economist vs. HBR for eminence
  • The Fortune Magazine story that changed McKinsey's profile
  • What is McKinsey's point of differentiation - it is not analytics or strategy
  • How to build a leadership factory
  • Why all the books about McKinsey, like "The Firm", completely miss the mark
  • Anecdotes about Marvin Bower
  • Using actions to build principles versus using principles to build actions
  • The problem with marketing in consulting
  • How McKinsey really makes decisions and tests them aka how to know when you are junior
  • How to bring about change in traditional businesses with deep histories

BCG

  • The difference between BCG and McKinsey
  • BCG's strengths and weaknesses
  • What is BCG's culture
  • How positioning drives operational decisions
  • Managing practice meetings

And much, much more.

If you found this piece interesting, please post comments and questions. We will be interviewing other very senior ex-partners of McKinsey and BCG, and will use these comments as an input for future interviews.

We also use comments and social shares to determine if a series should be pursued. If you would like us to interview another BCG or McKinsey ex-partner, corporate executive or renowned athlete please let us know.

Hope you enjoyed it. 

Michael

Jul 21 2015

1hr 8mins

Play

2: Leadership Challenges on the Study

Podcast cover
Read more

The power sector corporate strategy study is now underway and is scheduled to be released later this year, as part of our Executive Program. This is the first of many podcasts to discuss the progress in the power sector study, including paramount challenges and choices the client and the team are facing.

We decided not to live blog this study. We decided to put out frequent, almost daily, podcasts and a stream of articles explaining the issues. Given the intensity of the study, we hope to keep to this schedule and will do our very best, but forgive us if we are forced to skip many days. In fact, during one podcast recording session, the power went out!

In this first podcast, we delve into intricacies of the power sector in North Africa / Southern Europe. We also discuss the incredibly difficult choices countries and companies have to face in this rapidly growing resources strapped part of the world, along with mind-numbing permutations for each option and the huge costs involved. A single power station can cost over a billion dollars.

We also zoom in on the personal / leadership challenges the senior management team, including the CEO, often face. These problems are usually swept under the rug by companies and consulting firms. Yet, failure to address these challenges results in enormous human and financial cost. In fact, on a study such as this the trade-off for the management team is usually career success vs. personal happiness. We find that clients struggle to achieve both. They typically focus on career success through the study, while sacrificing personal happiness which becomes corrosive to their careers in the long-term. They typically burnout as a result of this.

We discuss some of the changes we introduced at Firmsconsulting to deal with this trade-off for clients.

Michael Boricki

www.firmsconsulting.com

Jul 28 2015

24mins

Play

3: Early, Bold Hypotheses for the Study

Podcast cover
Read more

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

This podcast explains a critical challenge in most major transformation type studies: early hypotheses. There are usually 4 to 6 streams of work from business case analyses to business unit strategy. The issue here is that all the other streams are dependent on guidance from the corporate strategy stream, but the corporate strategy stream needs time to arrive at its recommendation.

Coming up with that initial set of recommendations is scary and hard to do. We essentially need to be about 80% correct after only being with the client for a few days. How do we do that?

In this podcast we explain the technique and logic we use to arrive at the likely recommendation despite being just a few days into the study. This initial recommendation is vital in the first few days of the consulting study to guide the other streams. We also explain how to generally validate the initial hypotheses. 

Michael Boricki

www.firmsconsulting.com

Jul 28 2015

23mins

Play

4: Flawed Corporate Strategy Case Studies

Podcast cover
Read more

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

In this podcast we discuss one of the most prevalent errors made by strategy consultants when they analyze case studies. Consultants are pre-disposed to finding a solution, or best-practice, at a rival/peer and bringing it to the client. This happens because it is far easier to tell a client that a solution exists and it is just a question of adopting it.

Imagine telling a client that no solution exists in the market and the consultants need to create an entirely new approach to fix the client’s problem. This latter approach is a tougher sell.

This desire to find solutions in the market forces consultants to develop case studies whereby a solution is presented which is not a real solution. In this podcast, we discuss this problem in great detail using examples from both this and the market entry strategy study.

The most startling finding of the market entry study was that every single bank cited by experts as being best-in-class at serving emerging market low-income citizens actually failed. This podcast explains how to avoid this bias trap when developing strategy study case studies and why you should do this.

Michael Boricki

www.firmsconsulting.com

Aug 03 2015

11mins

Play

5: How Strategy Shapes the Structure

Podcast cover
Read more

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

The organizational structure of a company must enable / support / empower its corporate strategy. In other words, structure must follow the strategy. In this podcast we explain how the initial corporate strategy recommendations are not enough to guide the organizational design team.

Based on the likely power sector outages and types of problems, the organizational design can take one of two general styles: highly agile and responsive OR unresponsive but designed to deliver on significant, preplanned, construction projects.

Making this decision is not easy and has enormous implications for the client. It is a decision that must be made. If we say the client will not respond to daily outages we are basically saying daily outages are not an issue and the general population must live through the outages, and suffer. How do we make such a decision?

Michael Boricki

www.firmsconsulting.com

Aug 06 2015

16mins

Play

6: 3 Critical Analyses for Overall Hypotheses

Podcast cover
Read more

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

To support the overall recommendations, we would need to do many analyses. The study team is very large and over 4 months they will do a lot. Yet, the study partners can be more focused.

3 critical analyses can help us determine if the corporate strategy recommendations make sense.

First, we need to determine if there is profit outside the core.

Second, we need to find a financial metric to make short-term and long-term management decisions.

Three, we need to estimate the net cost of the changes we are recommending and the ability to fund them.

Michael Boricki

www.firmsconsulting.com

Aug 06 2015

16mins

Play

7: Transformation vs Corp. Strategy

Podcast cover
Read more

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

This podcast wraps up a tough first week of the study. We wanted to wrap-up the week by explaining the differences between a transformation corporate strategy study and a general corporate strategy study. We are going to use the movie Alien to explain this difference.

Like the movie, we are basically trying to hunt down a problem we cannot see, we do not know where it is, we do not know how it is changing and we cannot know which tools to use. We basically need to be very adaptable. That is why transformation studies are so difficult. They are the toughest type of corporate strategy studies.

We solve this problem by using an advance team of a partner and one associate to meet with executives to collect more information about the problem and feed it back to the team so we can better prepare. They have 1 week to find the information.

This podcast also discusses some of the feedback from the early executive workshops and problems we are having with the executive client team mis-communicating the purpose of the study. A problem which we are certain will escalate as the unions start comparing the promises made now to the results later.

Michael Boricki

www.firmsconsulting.com

Aug 06 2015

21mins

Play

8: Top-Down Financial Analyses

Podcast cover
Read more

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

The start of week 2 is dominated by the top-down financial analyses results. This is also when all the 6 streams officially kick-of: corporate strategy, business unit strategy, business case, organizational design, management skills analyses and value based management.

In this podcast we provide quotes and feedback from the focus interviews with the CEOs of the individual companies within Empire International, and the feedback from the labour union updates.

The general synopses is that EI is a much bigger and unwieldy business than we had initially assumed. The company is a collection of many, many tiny, medium, larger and very large separate companies who do not operate as one unit. They all do their own things and trip over each other.

Crucially, the top-down financial analyses is close to completion and we can present the financial snapshot of the company. It is not pretty and there is a serious cash problem. We discuss the three broad areas we are tackling: to increase shareholder value, wrap up with a discussion of how each stream fits into the broader study and prioritize the three most important streams of work.

Michael Boricki

www.firmsconsulting.com

Aug 06 2015

20mins

Play

9: Profit from the Core

Podcast cover
Read more

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

In this study we are hypothesizing that the core of the company has shifted and the company therefore needs to change to profit from the core business. This is common problem for many companies. Yet, dealing with it is very difficult.

When a company is built for a core that has changed, history teaches us that they will suffer and likely fail. Think of Yahoo, HP etc. Think of Google right now as the internet shifts from desktops to mobile and from mobile to apps. All businesses perfectly designed for a core business that no longer exists fail if they don’t pivot to a new model. We are basically trying to help this client undertake a change which is very difficult to execute.

That makes the study both exciting and daunting.

If you want to understand this concept of profiting from the core in more detail, we recommend one seminal book and HBR article to read.

We discuss the challenges of helping the client shift to find profit from the core business, grow in that core and find logical adjacencies. Fundamentally, this comes down to understanding their main clients, competitive advantage, capabilities and core offerings.

Michael Boricki

www.firmsconsulting.com

Aug 06 2015

16mins

Play

10: Implementation of the Recommendations

Podcast cover
Read more

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

Implementation of our recommendations will likely be very difficult and this is a critical concern. The company is under stress, constantly in the press and any changes must take place without disrupting daily operations. It is a recipe for a disaster.

We discuss a Marvin Bower anecdote about implementation and explain why most implementation literature about motivating employees to change their behaviour and accept the new strategy fails in the real world.

We also explain the 1960s John F. Kennedy strategy and positioning we plan to use to get the employees to understand, accept and rise to the challenge of fixing the problem despite pending salary, benefits and perk cuts.

This is a critical podcast because it teaches you what to do when motivating employees is simply not possible during a turnaround.

Michael Boricki

www.firmsconsulting.com

Aug 06 2015

11mins

Play

11: Building Leaders in Broken Companies

Podcast cover
Read more

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

Building leaders in broken companies is very difficult. In an earlier podcast, we discussed a change at Firmsconsulting in the way we are managing large corporate strategy transformation-type studies. Essentially, we now have a dedicated partner working with executive clients to help them with leadership and CEO-transitions issues. The work is absolutely fascinating: it sits at the intersection of leadership, motivation, happiness and clinical psychology.

I am personally learning from watching this partner in action. This is, therefore, a very interesting podcast and we are going to discuss the following.

We are going to predict what is going to happen to the Empire International (EI) executive leadership team based on our experience of running similar studies. Next we are going to briefly explain the leadership challenge at Empire International.

Then we are going to look at the unique context of the local labor market and how the backgrounds of the EI leadership team essentially make them voluntary corporate zombies who cannot fail financially: this is personal financial success even if EI fails financially.

Next, we will explain how and why they will be sidelined and why they will accept it!

Finally, we will look at our leadership strategy to deal with this: hint – involves focusing on the transition.

Finally we will discuss the central concept of our leadership philosophy: authenticity. It will surprise you to learn that this philosophy is absolutely nothing like anything you have read about in mainsteam business literature. We will use some case studies to discuss the philosophy.

I will also add some notes about the profile of the partner who should run leadership development and why it needs to differ from a corporate strategy partner.

Michael Boricki

www.firmsconsulting.com

Aug 06 2015

20mins

Play

12: Corporate Strategy Always Lacks Detailed Analyses

Podcast cover
Read more

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

In an earlier podcast, we discussed the logic of the corporate strategy recommendations. It will surprise you to realize just how little detailed analyses support that recommendation. There is a deep and clear logic. Yet, the analyses needed to prove that logic is surprisingly light.

In this podcast, we discuss this paradox of corporate strategy. Strategy studies have a reputation for having lots of analyses. This reputation comes both from a misunderstanding of strategy and from watching other types of strategy studies, like pricing, business unit strategies etc., which require heavy analyses.

What many consider corporate strategy analyses is actually the analyses done for the business units etc., once the corporate strategy is done. They are different and should not be confused.

Corporate strategy is essentially a bet on a market and there is no analytic tool in the world anywhere at any firm that can predict how a market will behave. We need to make a reasonable bet.

We also explain how the corporate strategy can still be right even if the tests we are doing prove otherwise. If you are wondering how to apply this to your own work, you need to focus on business judgment.

More than any other type of strategy work, corporate strategy relies heavily on business judgment since the analyses is dramatically open to interpretation. Business judgement cannot be found in any single analyses since no analyses is going to provide the answer.

We finally, explain why we have developed the corporate strategy approach we have developed if its primary role is not to analyze the corporate strategy recommendations.

Michael Boricki

www.firmsconsulting.com

Aug 06 2015

20mins

Play

13: Women in Consulting

Podcast cover
Read more

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

This podcast covers three topics, but the primary topic is gender equality on consulting studies: women in consulting. We are, of course, a major proponent on gender equality but my observations is that sometimes female managers only want the “good” things that equality brings while avoiding the “bad” things and passing that work onto male colleagues.

Equality, unfortunately, means accepting and working with both the good and bad things.

This podcast discusses this concept and how to manage things.

We discuss the week 3 of the study where 9am to 1pm of every single day is dedicated to training for the client. We explain why so much time is dedicated to training and our unusual approach to sharing everything with the client. We basically transfer everything we have to the client. Literally everything.

We finally discuss many of the “surprises” we are uncovering which have the potential to radically alter the direction of the study.

Michael Boricki

www.firmsconsulting.com

Aug 06 2015

22mins

Play

14: Invest in 4th Gen. Nuclear Technology?

Podcast cover
Read more

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

The client has invested heavily in trying to develop the next generation nuclear technology for sale to foreign companies. In this podcast we discuss our decision making process on whether or not the nuclear investment should be kept, expanded, modified, reduced or eliminated.

We discuss the 5 major scenarios open to the client for handling the nuclear investment and the financial impact of each scenario, as well as the anticipated impact on the client’s pending capital raising roadshow to raise money for its power build program.

The bottom-line is that all options are costly.

www.firmsconsulting.com

Aug 18 2015

14mins

Play

15: Keep the Telecom License?

Podcast cover
Read more

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

In this podcast we discuss how the client came to be the primary bidder for a telecom license which is far from their core business.

We also discuss the process we used to decide if the client should keep the license, sell it or do something else.

We developed 4 scenarios for the client. We also explain why immediately exiting this non-core investment hurts the client more than keeping the license. That is a counter intuitive recommendation which has to do with the value of real options.

Although, this may seem surprising, many power companies consider telecoms to be a natural adjacency due to the physical overlap of infrastructure.

www.firmsconsulting.com

Aug 18 2015

20mins

Play

16: Governance in Transformation Studies

Podcast cover
Read more

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

This podcast defines governance versus project management and explains the 6 governance levels on the study. We further break the 6 governance levels into those with a short to medium term focus and those with a long term focus.

The six governance levels are:

EI - BoardEI - CEO and EXCOEI - OPCOEI - Steerco.

EE - BoardEE - CEO

We explain further why in transformation studies the Steerco is one of the most important governance structures, trumpeting that of OPCO, even through Steerco members report to OPCO members.

COME HANG OUT WITH US: Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

www.firmsconsulting.com

Aug 25 2015

17mins

Play

17: Evolving International Business Ideas

Podcast cover
Read more

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

In an earlier podcast I discussed our bold hypotheses which involved shutting down and selling all of the international businesses.

Since that initial hypothesis developed in week 1, and after thinking about it for the last 2 weeks, we have changed our views. In terms of the number of initiatives, the majority of the international businesses will be shut down or sold. However, in terms of dollar value, the majority of international businesses will remain.

If that sounds contradictory, this podcast explains how we decided which businesses to keep and the impact it will have on the funding of the transformation study.

COME HANG OUT WITH US: Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

www.firmsconsulting.com

Aug 27 2015

7mins

Play

18: Corporate Strategy Analysis Process

Podcast cover
Read more

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

In this critical podcast, we focus on two things.

First, we discuss the reason why corporate strategy studies rely so heavily on executive workshops. We explain why simply handing the perfect strategy to the client will never yield results, even if the client accepts it without any challenges.

The workshop process plays a crucial role that cannot be easily replicated anywhere else in the study. That is the reason to hold the workshop.

Second, we discuss the components of the corporate strategy analyses and how we use each part:

1 - Case studies2 - Market analyses3 - Customer value chain analyses4 - Client value chain analyses

Finally, we discuss how all of these come together in the scenario planning.

COME HANG OUT WITH US: Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

www.firmsconsulting.com

Sep 01 2015

15mins

Play

19: How to Communicate Recommendations

Podcast cover
Read more

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

This podcast discusses how to communicate recommendations which are radical in nature.

If the recommendations are presented too early, they are hypotheses with little data backing them and they can be easily challenged.

If the recommendations are presented at the end, it shocks the client and there likely will be little agreement from the client.

The solution is to present early but to present them as hypotheses. That seems easy, but this podcast explains the mistakes in communication made when most consultants present complex hypotheses very early, and how to fix them.

You will learn that communication, your choice of words and the way you emphasize them can dramatically alter the way the client interprets what you are saying. In fact, the emphasis will radically alter the meaning.

COME HANG OUT WITH US: Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

www.firmsconsulting.com

Sep 03 2015

14mins

Play

20: Grooming Corporate Leaders

Podcast cover
Read more

This is the 18th podcast for the power sector corporate strategy study we will soon release as part of our Executive Program.

In this podcast we discuss the approach and philosophy used by the study leadership stream as they guide and mentor corporate leaders at the client.

We discuss the 4 pillars on which our leadership philosophy is built and use practical examples to demonstrate how we help clients adopt these principles.

The four pillars are:

  1. Sincere authenticity matters.
  2. Embrace, not hide, leadership flaws.
  3. Forget about image.
  4. Focus on results.

This approach is about helping corporate leaders be successful in the short term. If you would like to learn more about this leadership work, please read this article.

COME HANG OUT WITH US: Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

www.firmsconsulting.com

Sep 09 2015

19mins

Play