Leading organizations: Ten timeless truths

Leading Organizations: Ten Timeless Truths

Leading Organizations identifies the most challenging organizational issues leaders face, and then—one by one—provides the hard facts, big ideas, and exceedingly practical “how to” steps to address those issues.

The world is overflowing with management advice. Every year, over 10,000 business books are published—and that’s before you add in the hundreds of thousands of articles, blogs, and video lectures that are produced.  Leaders can’t possibly digest it all, and writers increasingly sensationalize and spin their ideas to be noticed. The results? An often contradictory cacophony of buzzwords and frameworks that focus leaders’ time on “what’s new” too often at the expense of “what’s true. A world where, quite simply, the field of management thinking is losing the plot.


In this new book, Scott Keller and Mary Meaney, senior partners at McKinsey & Company, cut through the clutter by addressing the ten most important and timeless questions that every leader must answer in order to maximize the performance of their organization. Few authors are as well placed to address these questions: they have a collective 40 years of experience in advising the C-suite and have access to McKinsey & Company’s near 100 years of institutional experience. They haven’t stopped there, however, as Leading Organizations casts its research net wide—taking into account the evolution of management thinking throughout the ages.

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About the authors

Scott Keller

Scott Keller is a senior partner in the Southern California office of McKinsey & Company. He is a leader of the firm’s Global Organization Practice. Having grown tired of reading boring, long-winded business books, he has taken things into his own hands with this book and his previous bestseller, Beyond Performance.

Mary Meaney

Mary Meaney is a senior partner in McKinsey & Company’s Paris office, and leads the firm’s Organization Practice in Europe. Long known for her energy, optimism, and insight, she’s written this book to generate the same in its readers. She has authored numerous articles on change management and organization behavior.

McKinsey Organization Practice

Leading Organizations draws on the collective wisdom of the McKinsey Organization Practice, featuring insights from functional experts with knowledge and context for a wide range of organization related subfunctions and topics cutting across an unparalleled range of industries and geographies. To read more about the practice and the experts who contributed to writing the book, please refer to Our People.


Consider what leaders from around the world are saying about Leading Organizations:


“Senior executives should greet this book with joy and gratitude. Meticulous analysis reveals that the ten most important management topics today are as they have always been. So first you learn what most needs to be done—and then the time-tested ways to make it happen.”

—Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO, WPP (ranked the #2 best-performing CEO in the world by Harvard Business Review, 2016)

“The book is an accessible, digestible, and valuable contribution to business leadership built on the bedrock of tried and tested experience in managing challenge and change.”

—Sir Roger Carr, chairman, BAE Systems plc (the world’s third-largest defense company)

Leading Organizations contains extraordinary insight, powerful ideas, and practical guidance. It has something for everyone, whether you are just setting out or an experienced leader—a must-read.”

—Carolyn Fairbairn, director general of the Confederation of British Industry (which speaks on behalf of over 190,000 businesses)


Leading Organizations is like reading ten business books in one. These leadership lessons put into action are a catalyst to sustainable competitive advantage.”

—Greg Case, CEO, Aon (ranked one of the top 100 best performing CEOs in the world by Harvard Business Review, 2016)

“[Keller and Meaney] zero in on the essentials...digging into the few key lessons that matter most. I find Leading Organizations: Ten Timeless Truths to be a lovely example of profound simplicity.”

—Robert I. Sutton, Stanford professor of management science & engineering and bestselling author (voted one of the top 10 “Leaders in business” by the American Management Association)

“A plain talking primer for CEOs and senior leaders who want to focus their attention on what matters. Leading Organizations provides a detailed ‘How To’ recipe for success, presented concisely in a digestible format.”

—Nancy G. Hesse, CEO, Cancer Treatment Centers of America (network treating over 7,400 patients per year, scoring in the 97th percentile for patient care)

Leading Organizations is easily digestible and focused on results.”

—Walter Bayly, CEO of Banco de Crédito del Perú (Peru’s largest bank and member of Credicorp)

Europe & Middle East

“An A-Z guide for leaders covering everything from talent and teams, to design and decision-making, to culture and change—mandatory reading for anyone who aspires to be a great leader of organizations.”

—Herman Gref, CEO, and chairman of the executive board of Sberbank, Russia (the largest bank in Eastern Europe and third largest in Europe)

Leading Organizations is straight to the point, counter-intuitive, pragmatic, and—above all—impact-focused.”

—Alain Bejjani, CEO and director, Majid Al Futtaim Holding LLC (one of the United Arab Emirates’ most respected and successful businesses)

“No one has time to read long-winded business books or is too impatient to do so, but this one is different. Not an endless prose, its content is both practical and refreshing. Simply essential reading for any leader.”

—Dan Vasella, former chairman and CEO of Novartis (chosen as the “Most Influential Business Leader of the Last 25 Years” by readers of the Financial Times)


“Keller and Meaney’s Leading Organizations: Ten Timeless Truths reveals clear, real-world actions on how to tackle the issues that leaders of every organization face. The topics addressed are truly timeless—making it a vital read for start-ups and mature organizations alike.”

—Peter Ma, chairman, Ping An Insurance Company of China (the world’s most valuable insurance brand)

“Great handbook on how to develop high performing organizations. A fresh departure from conceptual business books—very practical.”

— Kyung-bae Suh, chairman and CEO of AmorePacific Group of Korea (the world’s 7th largest cosmetics company)