How to harness the intelligence of your team

From Working With McKinsey:

If your McKinsey boss knows that you disagree with something, you will be reminded of your “obligation to dissent“. “Dissent” is a strong word, but in this context it simply means speaking up if you disagree with something being done or discussed.

The “obligation” comes from the fact that at McKinsey, voicing your dissent is not optional, it is required.

The Firm believes that every consultant – even the least-tenured, greenest Business Analysts and Associates – is intelligent and has valuable insights to offer. On McKinsey engagement teams and in collaborative problem solving sessions, everyone is supposed to have an equal voice and is expected to contribute to discussions – that includes exercising the obligation to dissent.

4 thoughts on “How to harness the intelligence of your team

  1. Dan, not sure I’d describe the “obligation to dissent” as a precursor to “radical transparency”, but certainly one of the many behaviors that allows McKinsey to fulfill its long-held — and based on my experience there — truly practiced, values. (see:

    • Rob,

      Does McKinsey also record all meetings and make them available to the entire company like Bridgewater does?

      An example of how extreme they go:

      Excerpt below:

      Once a tape recorder had been switched on, Jensen, McCormick, and Dalio discussed the possible promotion of an internal candidate to a senior-management role. McCormick, a soft-spoken forty-five-year-old who studied engineering at West Point, argued that the candidate’s prior experience at a big Wall Street firm indicated that he could probably do the job. Dalio disagreed. An investment bank is a “totally different world,” he said. But, rather than continue the discussion, he asked one of his assistants to call in the candidate. One rule of radical transparency is that Bridgewater employees refrain from saying behind a person’s back anything that they wouldn’t say to his face.

      The man arrived and stood before Dalio’s desk. Dalio explained what the discussion was about and said, “I don’t imagine that you would be a good fit for the job.” The man took a seat, and Dalio and McCormick continued their discussion about his qualifications. The candidate explained his experience on Wall Street and said he thought he could do the job well. Dalio leaned back in his chair, looking skeptical. The employee didn’t get the promotion.

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