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Capability Building

We help organizations identify, build, and sustain the capabilities they need to continuously improve performance and deliver impact—through both classroom and on-the-job training.

Half of the executives surveyed by McKinsey & Company in May 2014 rank capability building as a top-three priority. Done well, capability building translates directly into performance improvements on the individual and organizational level. Our approach draws upon adult-learning principles, a global network of coaches and implementation consultants, our capability centers, and 85 years of experience in helping organizations across a wide range of industries build capabilities to improve and sustain their performance.

Our approach

Our holistic approach includes building targeted capabilities and then guiding individuals to translate what they have learned into their daily work processes to solve business problems more effectively. Although each client's program is custom built, they are all based on these core principles:
  • focus on the capabilities and behaviors linked to those factors that drive value for the business
  • address both organizational and individual capability-building needs
  • tailor programs to an organization’s unique starting point and specific requirements
  • leverage real work complemented by experiential and other learning
  • scale and institutionalize capabilities through processes, tools, and people

The mix of discussion and classroom exploration, on-the-job coaching, and self-discovery ensures that participants have the opportunity to understand and practice new skills and achieve their learning goals.

To support our clients, we invest significantly in methods, assets, and infrastructure, including the following:
  • a global network of capability centers and model factories provides experiential learning opportunities; programs range from brief workshops to multi-day learning events
  • a library of 600 interactive in-person and 50 e-learning modules
  • a network of implementation consultants and expert coaches to build business-management skills
  • individual assessment tools, as well as organizational diagnostics and benchmarking
  • objective performance standards that can be used as the basis for corporate certification programs

Our programs are integrated into a client organization's existing processes, from talent and performance management to line organizations' ways of working. As detailed in our case studies, our approach consistently improves bottom-line results while strengthening an organization's capability foundation.

To learn more about McKinsey Capability Building, download our brochure (PDF-3.75 MB)

Our people

Richard Benson-Armer

Senior Partner, Stamford

Arne Gast

Partner, Kuala Lumpur

Katy George

Senior Partner, New Jersey

David Jacquemont

Partner, Paris

Tomas Koch

Senior Partner, Seoul

Bruce Simpson

Senior Partner, Toronto

Nick van Dam

Global Chief Learning Officer, Amsterdam

Featured capabilities

McKinsey Capability Centers

We offer experiential learning programs on a range of functional topics, both in our Centers and at client sites. Unlike traditional... corporate training programs, our participants actively practice skills and tackle real-time challenges in realistic work settings.
McKinsey Center for Government

Capability building in the public sector

The McKinsey Center for Government works with government departments and agencies globally to understand how public-sector organizations... can build new capabilities, continuously improve performance, and deliver more to society.

Capability building in Procurement

Assessing individual capabilities in the Procurement function.

Impact stories

An engineering and construction giant reignites profitable growth

Better strategy and strong leadership pipeline unlock growth, boost revenues, and safeguard margins.

Customer focused transformation at energy provider

Investment in enterprise capability building improves customer and employee satisfaction.

From taking orders to fulfilling customer needs: Transforming telesales capabilities

Changing employees' mindsets, behaviors, and customer conversations lifts revenue.

Results-oriented capability building and coaching turn the tide at terminal operator

Embedding new technical and communication skills reduces revenue at risk and supports growth and investment plans.

Building capabilities so that improvements to clinical operations will last

When an organization’s staff suffers from change fatigue, an emphasis on capability building can produce strong, sustainable results.

Featured insights

Connect with McKinsey Capability Building