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Culture and Change

Shape successful transformation programs and build cultures of continuous improvement to drive value

The ability to drive transformational change—such as moving from good to great performance, cutting costs, or turning around a crisis—is a key source of competitive advantage. Yet despite the 25,000 books published on the topic, one in three change programs fail. We work with major corporations and public services to overcome these odds.

Our deep experience and rigorous approach help clients shape successful transformation programs and build cultures of continuous improvement. Specifically, we work closely with clients to:

  • Strengthen organizational health: We help clients attain excellence by managing both performance and organizational health with equal rigor. “Health” can be defined as an organization’s ability to align, execute, and renew itself faster than the competition. Our proprietary Organizational Health Index survey provides a fact-based means of measuring and strengthening health.
  • Shape and deliver transformational change: We help clients design and deliver far-reaching change efforts through our Five Frames methodology. This approach helps leaders shape a change vision and set targets that are tightly linked to business outcomes; diagnose the organization’s ability to meet those targets; and deliver improvement initiatives that strengthen performance, build capabilities, and change organizational mind-sets and behaviors.
  • Shift behavior to shape organizational culture: Achieving sustained improvement in performance and health requires that organizations move beyond structures, processes, and systems to address individual and collective behavior—including culture, mind-sets and capabilities, and team and group dynamics. As a key aspect of creating transformational change, we work with clients to design and implement interventions to build skills, shift mind-sets, develop leaders, and manage talent to ensure a successful and sustainable change in behaviors.
  • Help leaders become models for change: Senior leaders have a unique role in transformational change: They must provide cues about what really matters for everyone in the organization to follow. We help leaders make the transformation personal, role-model the change, openly engage others, and spotlight successes. We also help build commitment and alignment within the senior team.
  • Convene leaders and share insights: We share our insights at a range of external and McKinsey forums. For example, more than 1700 senior executives leading major transformation efforts have participated in our Change Leaders Forum. Articles published in the McKinsey Quarterly bring leading-edge thinking and practical advice from our transformational change experience and our proprietary research.

Featured experts

Carolyn Dewar

Senior Partner, San Francisco

Arne Gast

Partner, Kuala Lumpur

Scott Keller

Senior Partner, Southern California

Alexis Krivkovich

Senior Partner, San Francisco

Michiel Kruyt

Partner, Amsterdam

John C. W. Parsons

Partner, Calgary

Hortense de la Boutetière

Senior Partner, Paris

Wouter Aghina

Partner, Amsterdam

Rob Theunissen

Partner, Amsterdam

Featured capability

Organizational Health Index

Put hard numbers and improvement actions on your organization’s health

Impact story

Reorganizing to build customer loyalty

Bringing a stronger market focus to an execution-oriented organization helps to boost customer loyalty by 33 percent and maintain high growth rates even during the banking crisis.

Related Insights


The mass personalization of change: Large-scale impact, one individual at a time

– Here’s how technology, data, and human insight are transforming the way we enact change. Fast.

How do we manage the change journey?

– To make change happen, you must generate the ownership and energy to execute the plan and change it on the fly.
Article - McKinsey Quarterly

Purpose: Shifting from why to how

– What is your company’s core reason for being, and where can you have a unique, positive impact on society? Now more than ever, you need good answers to these questions.
Article - McKinsey Quarterly

Getting personal about change

– The need to shift mind-sets is the biggest block to successful transformations. The key lies in making the shift both individual and institutional—at the same time.

Featured Publication


Beyond Performance 2.0: A Proven Approach to Leading Large-Scale Change

Beyond Performance 2.0 more than doubles your odds of successfully leading significant, sustainable change by applying equal levels of insight and rigor to the “hard” and “soft” elements that matter.