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US State Government Transitions

We offer a comprehensive set of resources to support state and local government leaders as they move from campaigning to governing.

From more than 50 years of serving government officials in more than 30 US states and most of the federal government, we’ve developed insights to help leaders set up an effective government, tackle their highest priorities, and meaningfully improve the lives of their constituents.


Topics: Digital and analytics | Customer experience | Transformation | Revenue and treasury | Climate and sustainability | Economic development and workforce | Public health and human services | Infrastructure | Navigating the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law | Resilience and crisis response | Education


Our Approach

Manage, aspire, organize, plan, de-risk, and deliver

Manage. Shape, design, and manage your transition team

Aspire. Set your vision for what you want to accomplish

Organize. Build your future administration, hire your staff, and set them up for success

Plan. Define your path to success and how you will measure impact

De-risk. Identify key risks and set a plan to prevent and mitigate them

Deliver. Implement your plans and empower your government to deliver to its citizens

Running a State and Local transition

Article

Governors-elect have transition teams. What about their cabinets?

– Unlike newly elected governors, top appointees and officials typically start their jobs without the backing of a transition team. Still, with a strategic approach, they can hit the ground running.

Digital and analytics

‘Dig once’ could help states manage material and worker shortages

– Multiple excavations for infrastructure improvements can be disruptive to the public. Coordinating projects could minimize negative impacts and help states manage supply chain and labor shortages.

Lessons in leadership: Using data to drive public-health decisions

– Mehnaz Mustafa spearheaded the creation of an innovative public-health data and analytics hub to inform New Jersey’s COVID-19 response, advance health equity, and tackle public-health challenges.

The call to rethink government customer experience

– The White House wants to make engaging with the government easier. How can agencies meet the challenge?

Unlocking the potential of public-sector IT projects

– Public-sector IT projects can leverage four drivers of performance improvement to maximize value.

Mission not meetings: How government leaders could avoid self-sabotage

– Government leaders get up in the morning for the mission, but they often spend their day working against the bureaucracy. This can lead to self-sabotage, and it is not uncommon. But it can be overcome.

It’s cloud time for boards—in seven charts

– These seven charts can help boards shape their business’s cloud strategy.

Better and faster: Organizational agility for the public sector

– Agile principles can help governments transform the way they work for the better.

The data-driven enterprise of 2025

– Rapidly accelerating technology advances, the recognized value of data, and increasing data literacy are changing what it means to be “data driven.”

Cyber resilience: Protecting America’s digital infrastructure

– Faced with rising cyberthreats, government and the private sector will need to improve their digital hygiene while also preparing for the next wave of cyber adversaries.

Government data management for the digital age

– Public institutions can make more of their data resources. Five actions can help them modernize their data infrastructures and unlock significant value across state, economy, and society.

Booting out bias: How to derisk advanced analytics models in the public sector

– Advanced analytics can transform public-sector services, but US agencies are wary of the risk of biased outcomes. Sound risk management is the key to a wider adoption that will benefit all citizens.

Defining the skills citizens will need in the future world of work

– To future-proof citizens’ ability to work, they will require new skills—but which ones? A survey of 18,000 people in 15 countries suggests those that governments may wish to prioritize.

Accelerating data and analytics transformations in the public sector

– A data and analytics transformation is particularly hard for organizations in the public sector, given their scale and operating constraints. But some are making progress and offer valuable lessons.

The next chapter: Driving technology leadership in the public sector

– Leadership transitions are an opportune time for public-sector CIOs to accelerate technology modernization using our three-vector strategy.

COVID-19: Making the case for robust digital financial infrastructure

– The pandemic has been a tough, real-life stress test for government disbursement schemes, highlighting opportunities but also gaps and vulnerabilities.

Scaling digital in the public sector: Building blocks for the future

– The upcoming government transition presents public-sector leaders with the opportunity to establish processes for successfully scaling digital technologies.

How public-sector tech leaders can speed up the journey to the cloud

– Moving to the cloud is fraught with challenges. By answering five questions up front, public-sector leaders can ease and accelerate the journey.

How CIOs and CTOs can accelerate digital transformations through cloud platforms

– To capture the real value from cloud, companies need to focus their investments and build a cloud-ready operating model.

Transforming the US government’s approach to hiring digital talent

– Attracting digital talent to government jobs has been a challenge, with consequences felt throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Leaders can rethink their approach to build resilience for future crises.

How US state governments can improve customer service

– A McKinsey Center for Government survey finds that Americans are often dissatisfied with state services—and identifies significant opportunities for improvement.

Customer experience

Governments can deliver exceptional customer experiences—here’s how

– Our US State of the States benchmark provides insights for newly elected and second-term administrations on how to deliver better services, operate more effectively, and win back public trust.

Prioritizing customer experience in government

– The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the necessity to center customer experience in dealings with government agencies. This benefits customers, government employees, and agencies’ reputations alike.

Transformation

What workers want is changing. That could be good for government

– The public-sector talent gap directly impacts public welfare. Attracting and retaining workers is a top priority for senior leaders across government. Here’s how they could reenergize hiring now.

Delivering on the promise of federal infrastructure funds in states

– Thanks to the combined impacts of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and pandemic-related recovery bills, states and localities could have a meaningful effect on lives and livelihoods.

Government transformation in times of great change

– Federal agencies are setting ambitious goals. What do agency leaders need to know about planning and directing successful transformations?

Organizing for change

– Knowing how to effect change is just as important as knowing what to change.

Government transformations in times of extraordinary change: Key considerations for public-sector leaders

– An equal focus on performance and organizational health can help large-scale government overhauls succeed.

America 2021: Making change happen, against the odds

– To America’s leaders, innovators, and changemakers: knowing how to effect change is just as important as knowing what to change.

Revenue and treasury

Financial data unbound: The value of open data for individuals and institutions

– Economies that embrace data sharing for finance could see GDP gains of between 1 and 5 percent by 2030, with benefits flowing to consumers and financial institutions.

Forward Thinking on measuring GDP and productivity with Diane Coyle

– “If you look back at episodes of these periods when there has been technical change, and some big cataclysmic event in the economy, things end up being quite different a bit later.”

Navigating the state financial crisis: Moving past business-as-usual planning and budgeting post-COVID-19

– The COVID-19 pandemic has created and underscored countless financial-management challenges for state governments in the United States. To meet these fiscal demands, states can use the budget as a strategic-management tool.

Climate and sustainability

Net-zero emissions in US government fleets

– Through its use of electric vehicles, the US government stands to serve as a role model for accelerating progress in the electrification journey and reaching net-zero commitments.

The net-zero transition: What it would cost, what it could bring

– This McKinsey report offers a detailed look at the economic and societal impact of the transition to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Solving the net-zero equation: Nine requirements for a more orderly transition

– Net-zero commitments are rising, but the net-zero equation is not yet solved. This can only change if nine interdependent requirements are met with singular resolve, unity, and ingenuity.

Responding to climate risk: Actions for US state and local leaders

– Climate risk costs the United States billions each year. By acting now, state and local leaders can lessen the impact, invigorate economies, and steer the country to a prosperous low-carbon future.

Economic development and workforce

Advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion

– During the COVID-19 pandemic, women have had bigger workloads—and have burned out in greater numbers. Government leaders can use proven approaches to address these issues and build better workplaces.

Better and faster: Organizational agility for the public sector

– Agile principles can help governments transform the way they work for the better.

Rural rising: Economic development strategies for America’s heartland

– There is no one-size-fits-all economic development strategy for rural communities. How can local leaders—including governments, businesses, and individuals—put rural regions on track to thrive?

Beyond financials: Helping small and medium-size enterprises thrive

– Small and medium-size enterprises are facing compounding challenges. Governments and other institutions worldwide are launching programs to provide them the advisory support needed to meet the moment.

Defining the skills citizens will need in the future world of work

– To future-proof citizens’ ability to work, they will require new skills—but which ones? A survey of 18,000 people in 15 countries suggests those that governments may wish to prioritize.

The case for inclusive growth

– US leaders across sectors have an opportunity to improve economic performance—and bolster individual and community well-being—through investments that embed equity into the development process.

Public health and human services

Lessons in leadership: Using data to drive public-health decisions

– Mehnaz Mustafa spearheaded the creation of an innovative public-health data and analytics hub to inform New Jersey’s COVID-19 response, advance health equity, and tackle public-health challenges.

Care for the caretakers: Building the global public health workforce

– In this article, we examine four fundamental shifts that governments can implement to address the growing issue of public healthcare workforce shortages.

Pandemic to endemic: Where do US public-health systems go from here?

– As COVID-19 moves from a pandemic to an endemic disease in the United States, the country could take the opportunity to create stronger, more equitable public-health systems.

Ten lessons from the first two years of COVID-19

– On the second anniversary of the pandemic, we take stock.

Building the US public-health workforce of the future

– State and local health departments have an imperative to invest in their workforces as they build toward endemic COVID-19 and improving other health outcomes. Here are six strategies to act on now.

Addressing the unprecedented behavioral-health challenges facing Generation Z

– A series of consumer surveys and interviews conducted by McKinsey finds Gen Zers reporting the least positive life outlook, including lower levels of emotional and social well-being than older generations.

Not the last pandemic: Investing now to reimagine public-health systems

– The COVID-19 crisis reminds us how underprepared the world was to detect and respond to emerging infectious diseases. Smart investments of as little as $5 per person per year globally can help ensure far better preparation for future pandemics.

Nursing in 2021: Retaining the healthcare workforce when we need it most

– How healthcare stakeholders can understand, support, and empower the nursing workforce in the wake of the global health crisis.

Infrastructure

Reinvesting in America

Approximately $3 trillion in additional federal spending could enter the US economy. Will these investments be transformative? How can governments and companies harness the opportunity to advance sustainable and inclusive growth?

Impact officer in chief: The state infrastructure coordinator’s role

– As funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law becomes available, a coordinator could help states set priorities and allocate resources across agencies.

Bridging the labor mismatch in US construction

– US construction projects are short-staffed today, and the problem is set to get worse. Here’s what the sector can do to close the gap.

The US Bipartisan Infrastructure Law: Breaking it down

– What’s in it? What does it aim to do?

Navigating the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

Article

Are states ready to close the US digital divide?

– More than $100 billion in federal funding is being deployed to bring broadband to every American household as part of the largest... public investment to connect Americans since the creation of the Interstate Highway System.
Article

A new era of US infrastructure grants

– The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law introduces a new level of funding considerations for state and local governments. States with... high ambitions are already in the thick of it—what now?
Article

Navigating the complexity of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

– The act funds hundreds of programs. Our BIL Navigator has been designed to help governments identify programs, monitor key deadlines,... and more.
Interactive

BIL Navigator

– Explore Bipartisan Infrastructure Law programs and monitor upcoming deadlines with BIL Navigator.
Article

Delivering on the promise of federal infrastructure funds in states

– Thanks to the combined impacts of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and pandemic-related recovery bills, states and localities... could have a meaningful effect on lives and livelihoods.
Article

Impact officer in chief: The state infrastructure coordinator’s role

– As funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law becomes available, a coordinator could help states set priorities and allocate... resources across agencies.
Article

The US Bipartisan Infrastructure Law: Breaking it down

– What’s in it? What does it aim to do?
Practice page

Global Infrastructure Initiative

McKinsey’s Global Infrastructure Initiative (GII) is a community of the world’s most senior leaders in infrastructure... and capital projects, committed to identifying tangible ways to improve the delivery of essential infrastructure.

Resilience and crisis response

Employees on the move: How to keep and attract talent

– In Australia, job mobility is happening in both the public and private sectors. Leaders are faced with finding ways to keep present talent and attract the new.

Transforming government in a new era

– How engaged public servants, enabled by technology, can deliver better outcomes in a time of disruption.

Facing crises, forging trust: An interview with Australia’s Major General Andrew Hocking

– Major General Andrew Hocking talks about the importance of trust in building resilience, why a focus on communities is important, and lessons learned from dealing with both the bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Getting ahead of supply-chain risks

– How public- and private-sector organizations can collaborate, assess vulnerabilities, and look at the bigger picture to improve supply-chain resilience.

The future of Emergency Operation Centers: Six shifts to consider from COVID-19

– Tactical actions can help strengthen and reimagine the EOC structure.

What’s next for consumers, workers, and companies in the post-COVID-19 recovery

– Many changes in business models and consumer behavior during the pandemic will stick, but action will be needed to ensure the rebound is not uneven.

Rethinking resilience: Ten priorities for governments

– Due to the pandemic, governments are under increased pressure to act quickly and at scale. By reimagining how they work, they can create resilient societies and public services for the next normal.

Education

How COVID-19 caused a global learning crisis

– The pandemic has taken a substantial toll on students’ academic progress as well as on their mental health. School systems can respond across multiple horizons to help students get back on track.

Racial and ethnic equity in US higher education

– Institutions have the potential to use their roles in teaching and learning, research scholarship and creative expression, and service to the community to collectively work toward greater equity.

COVID-19 and education: The lingering effects of unfinished learning

– US states and districts have the opportunity to not only help students catch up on unfinished learning from the pandemic but also tackle long-standing historical inequities in education.

Using machine learning to improve student success in higher education

– Deploying machine learning and advanced analytics thoughtfully and to their full potential may support improvements in student access, success, and the overall student experience.

How to transform higher-education institutions for the long term

– As financial pressures on higher-education institutions compound, a transformation approach focused on five best practices can help leaders make lasting change.

Featured Experts

Tim Ward
Senior Partner, Southern California
Leads our work with US state and local governments, bringing the best of our cross-sector expertise in digital, analytics, transformation,...
Jonathan Law
Senior Partner, Southern California
Supports education organizations and state, provincial, and local governments design and implement major initiatives that advance...
David Nuzum
Senior Partner, New York
Supports public and private payers as well as healthcare providers in strategy formation, business design, and implementation...
Tom Dohrmann
Senior Partner, Washington DC
Leads large-scale organizational transformations and operations improvement for federal-, state-, and local-government clients
Dr. Pooja Kumar
Senior Partner, Philadelphia
Serves health systems on operational transformations, growth strategies, and partnership strategies in markets experiencing payment...
Adi Kumar
Senior Partner, Washington DC
Counsels private- and public-sector leaders on topics of strategy, innovation, organization, and operations to improve performance...
Katherine Linzer
Partner, Chicago
Serves US states and payers on Medicaid strategy and innovation, with a focus on value-based care, managed-care excellence, special...
Linda Liu
Partner, New York
Advises public and private organizations on how to prepare for, respond to, and manage crisis situations
Mihir Mysore
Partner, Houston
An experienced crisis practitioner working across sectors and regions; helps leaders of large organizations resolve and prevent...
Hrishika Vuppala
Senior Partner, Bay Area
Brings IT-transformation expertise to help private- and public-sector agencies maximize value from technology investments to drive...
Gayatri Shenai
Partner, New York
Uses digital and analytics to help public- and private-sector institutions transform operational performance and improve competitive...
Shannon Peloquin
Partner, Bay Area
Supports major utilities, transportation, and infrastructure organizations to enhance long-term strategy and investments, operations,...
Sarah Tucker-Ray
Partner, Washington DC
Helps government leaders deliver better outcomes for the public, including improved operations, enhanced customer experience,...
Jimmy Sarakatsannis
Senior Partner, Washington DC
Offers broad and deep expertise in education, with a particular interest in the use of technology to transform teaching and learning

Connect with our Government Transitions experts