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10 must-read posts from 2020

Revisiting the top blog posts that helped organizations thrive in 2020.
Bill Schaninger

Designs and manages large-scale organizational transformations, strengthening business performance through enhanced culture, values, leadership, and talent systems

We launched the McKinsey Organization Blog hopeful that our weekly insights on leadership and organization could serve as a one-stop shop for impactful, fact-based, and pragmatic advice—in 600 words or less.

In this most unusual year, distinguished by its uncharacteristic degree of change, we remain hopeful that we have and will continue to help organizations through the crisis and into recovery.

Truly, the blog posts that best resonated with our readers—outlined below—offered insights addressing the full spectrum of organizational needs in 2020.

  • Nudge, don’t nag
    By Alexander DiLeonardo, Bill Schaninger, and Stephanie Smallets

    With such a fine line between a nudge and a nag, it’s important to understand the subtle differences between the two. If your nudges check these three boxes, you’re well on your way.

  • Busting a management myth: empowering employees doesn’t mean leaving them alone
    By Aaron De Smet, Caitlin Hewes, and Leigh Weiss

    Empowerment often requires more involvement, not less. In the first post of our two-part series, we discuss the fundamental misunderstanding of what empowerment means and how it impacts leadership and management styles.

  • What it really means to lead more effectively through empowerment
    By Aaron De Smet, Caitlin Hewes, and Leigh Weiss

    In the second post of our two-part empowerment series, we explore what it means to truly empower those you manage and the actions you can take to drive results.

  • Improve your leadership team’s effectiveness through key behaviors
    By Natasha Bergeron, Aaron De Smet, and Liesje Meijknecht

    Effective leadership teams can yield significant results across an entire organization. Our experience—combined with scientific literature on organizational psychology—has revealed 22 behaviors that contribute to effectiveness, which can be broadly condensed into four characteristics.

  • From me to we: the next shift in performance management
    By Lucia Darino and Christine Johnson

    A team-based performance management system will not only ensure the right teams are being recognized for great work, but it can also unlock how team-based organizations operate at full potential.

  • Organizing for the Future: Why now?
    By Elizabeth Mygatt, Richard Steele, and Mitya Voloshchuk

    Tweaking a management system based on old rules will no longer be effective. Our first Organizing for the Future post offers four macro trends unwinding the old rules of management.

  • Three important questions for the future of remote work
    By Raphael Bick, Klaus Seywald, and Tom Welchman

    Several companies have already announced plans to shift to a hybrid or completely remote working model after the pandemic. Asking these three questions will support success when considering this alternative working model.

  • Inspiring individuals is the new competitive advantage
    By Alexander DiLeonardo, Taylor Lauricella, and Bill Schaninger

    Building a true competitive advantage requires applying that same lens at the individual level to better inspire and enable people on the ground. For leaders, this means doubling down on these four areas.

  • Addressing talent in a team-based organization
    By Kyla Kelly, Chandni Sachdeva, and Arun Sunderraj

    No single “off-the-shelf” people model exists for team-based environments, but organizations can start by considering the themes of alignment, motivation, and craftsmanship.

  • Driving organizational and behavior changes during a pandemic
    By Noa Dagan, Lee Baz-Sanchez, and Brooke Weddle

    The influence model should be considered an enduring staple of an organization’s change management approach. This post offers multiple examples of how organizations used it to drive organization-wide behavior changes during a time of unprecedented disruption and a shift to remote working.

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