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Who’s behind “Strategy Beyond the Hockey Stick?”

Co-author Martin Hirt shares his experiences writing our newest book on strategy.

Read more about: Diversity | Innovation

We caught up with Martin, a senior partner in Taipei and coauthor (with Sven Smit and Chris Bradley), of the book “Strategy Beyond the Hockey Stick,” available in February.

“I was introduced to McKinsey through a professor at a Business School in the US; he connected me to a McKinsey partner from Germany (my homeland) and we had some great conversations. I applied to the Frankfurt location, got the offer and never looked back.”

“When I joined, I wasn’t concerned with specializing in a certain area because I didn’t have a clear&cut passion for a specific industry or function. I wanted to explore and work for a firm that was a global leader in its field.”

“I spent most of my first 15 years working in telecom, media and high&tech. One day in 2008, I received a call from then&managing director Ian Davis. He asked me to take a leadership role in the Strategy & Corporate Finance practice. I discovered several of my friends were also there and jumped at the opportunity to work with them more closely. Together, we’ve done meaningful and exciting work. We created digital tools like the Strategy Platform to help our teams run engagements more efficiently and effectively. We developed entirely new client offerings such as a Strategic Diligence, an eight-week long engagement format designed to cut straight to the core issues. We used these new tools to engage with 1,500 new clients during the last five years. During the same time frame, we helped elect 30 senior partners, 150+ partners, and 285+ associate partners. Supporting and sponsoring these people as they make those transitions has been one of the most rewarding parts of this job for me.”

“Most recently, we published our latest insights in “Strategy Beyond the Hockey Stick,”, which is set to be released today (February 13, 2018).”


“The foundation for this book was “The Granularity of Growth,” a McKinsey Quarterly article by Sven Smit. It was a hugely successful piece, but it left an unopened question: what about profits? Sven, Chris, and I started to research how organizations could beat the market by not only developing a good strategy, but implementing it effectively. ”

Strategy Beyond the Hockey Stick” goes beyond analytics into the social side of strategy. It shows how an organization’s culture can inhibit a sound strategy if social issues are not addressed directly and openly. It combines analytical insights with practical recommendations, telling leaders which moves to make, when and how.”

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“As much as I’ve invested into this book during the last 10 years, it’s not my book. It’s McKinsey’s book. Hundreds of my colleagues around the world connected us with the CEOs they serve to inform our perspectives. It would have been impossible to write this book without the support and expertise of the broader McKinsey community.”

“This experience underscored three things about McKinsey that are special to me and keep me here:

“1. Values: In my 25 years of professional service, I’ve never seen another organization so clearly define its values or live them as passionately as we do every day.”

“2. Freedom: I’ve pursued my passions here and watched my colleagues follow theirs. As long as you do things that make sense for you and your clients – whether that’s research, pro-bono work, or regular service – you’ll have the freedom and support you need to succeed.”

“3. Best people: The firm attracts the best talent in the world, so for 25 years there’s been nothing more inspiring than the people around me.”

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