McKinsey Classics

Timeless insights—and why they’re as relevant as ever

A more productive environment for everyone

– Let’s say you’re facing a “difficult conversation”—for example, informing a colleague that you’ll have to pull out of an important meeting the two of you have been planning for weeks. You start by baldly stating that you can’t attend it. Behavioral research shows that the other person’s brain then goes on defense, diverting scarce mental energy by launching an automatic “snap, sulk, or skulk” mode. Emotionally sophisticated neural machinery shuts down, and the quality of work declines.

Four principles of effective storytelling on social media

– Scott Harrison was a successful nightclub and fashion promoter in New York, but he felt spiritually bankrupt. Leaving his business behind, he decided to serve as a photojournalist on a floating hospital that provided free medical care in poor countries. Such stories help build organizations and lead them through times of change. To learn the four principles that make these narratives effective, read our 2011 classic “The power of storytelling: What nonprofits can teach the private sector about social media.”

The future of global economic growth

– In 2014, to celebrate McKinsey Quarterly’s 50th anniversary, the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) examined the future prospects for economic growth throughout the world. Read “A productivity perspective on the future of growth.”

How to make scenario planning more effective

– McKinsey has been fascinated for years by the cognitive biases that explain how people make economic decisions, such as investments. Learn how to control them: read “Overcoming obstacles to effective scenario planning.”

Having difficulty keeping your employees?

– The job market will probably continue to be a challenge for employers in the new year, which means that your workplace—whether remote or in-person—needs to be as comfortable, collaborative, and welcoming as possible if you are to retain workers. Read our 2007 classic “Building the civilized workplace.”

The soft side of growth

– Most companies can anticipate the strategic side of growth—where, when, and how it happens—but many underestimate its organizational side. Read our 2011 classic article ‘Preparing your organization for growth.’

How companies use agile to transform their data infrastructure and processes

– In the search for ways to accelerate data programs, some advanced companies have drawn on the agile techniques originally used to develop software.

Managing the people side of risk

– McKinsey’s research and experience have found not only that the companies with the strongest risk cultures have specific traits but also that there are effective ways to strengthen them. Read the 2015 classic ‘Managing the people side of risk.’

What kind of strategist does your company need?

– Different kinds of companies need different kinds of chief strategy officers. To learn what kind your company needs, read ‘Rethinking the role of the strategist.’

Teamwork at the top

– Better teams develop better strategies, implement them more successfully, and inspire confidence among stakeholders. To learn how your top team can improve its performance, not just its strategies, read our 2001 classic ‘Teamwork at the top.’

Data analytics for top teams

– To learn how top teams can manage analytics, read our 2016 classic ‘Making data analytics work for you—instead of the other way around.’

The four global trends

– Four powerful forces are transforming the world: urbanization in developing economies, faster technological change, aging, and a new kind of globalization. Learn about them in our 2015 book excerpt ‘The four global forces breaking all the trends.’