Tuesday, November 13, 2012

How to keep your McKinsey boss happy - 3 tips for dealing with McKinsey Engagement Managers (EMs)



If you report to a former McKinsey consultant, there’s a good chance that they were a McKinsey Engagement Manager (EM) at some point.  So, the things that made them happy as EMs are still likely to be valued.  

In this post I'll share the three best pieces of advice I received as an early-tenure Associate on how to keep your McKinsey boss happy.  Once I became an EM, I found these tips to be spot on.  If you’re currently a Business Analyst or Associate at McKinsey, then this advice is even more applicable to you.



GIVE YOUR EM FEWER THINGS TO WORRY ABOUT

By being organized, responsible, and proactive, you can show your EM that your workstream is under control, freeing up time for them to focus on other areas.  Some tactical ways to do that are:
    • Schedule regular check-ins to go over 1) what you’ve done, 2) what you’re working on, and 3) what you’re planning to do next
    • Create a workplan that shows 1) what tasks you need accomplish, 2) by when you will complete them, and 3) their current status
    • Take an ownership mindset of your workstream, suggesting and planning next steps rather than waiting for your EM to assign them

 

TAKE THINGS OFF OF YOUR EM'S PLATE

If you have your workstream under control, you can look across the rest of the study and understand where there are opportunities to pitch in elsewhere.  Some examples include:
    • Extend your workstream to include things your EM would otherwise have to do
    • Help out other workstream owners (your colleagues) so your EM can focus on other things
    • Volunteer to handle things on your EM’s plate that could be done by others

NEVER SURPRISE YOUR EM

No matter how good you are, eventually something will blow-up, a deadline will be missed, or a hand-off will be dropped.  Let your EM know as soon as you know there will be a problem.  Your EM might not be happy, but at least contingency plans can be made, extra work can be put in, and the team can get past it – hopefully without the client or McKinsey leadership ever knowing there was a problem.  The worst thing you can do is postpone giving the bad news until it’s too late to do anything about it.

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