McKinsey & Company is one of the world’s leading organizations in management consulting, operating in 60 countries with 105 locations. Recently, the UBC chapter of Young Women in Business (YWiB) was honoured to host McKinsey for a luncheon to learn more about the world of consulting and about McKinsey’s research on leadership. During the luncheon, Ms. Alex McMurray conducted a condensed version of their Centered Leadership Training Program, an event that normally spans a few days. Despite the condensed schedule, Alex was able to introduce the five dimensions of leadership and help attendees create their own networking maps to discover more about their current professional relationships.
Research into the composition of great leadership began at McKinsey in 2004 when Joanna Barsh, a senior partner at McKinsey, had a moment of revelation. On paper she had everything, a family, a beautiful home and a leadership position in a prestigious company but Joanna realized that there was something missing. She began her research to determine how to be a successful female leader without missing out on any important things in life. This research caused her to discover the five dimensions for centered leadership: Meaning, Framing, Energizing, Connecting and Engaging.
During our lunch with McKinsey, we had the opportunity to discuss these five dimensions and learn ways to use and strengthen them. Alex emphasized the importance of having a mindset where you focus on your strengths instead of your weaknesses and talked a lot about learning to build on these strengths. She said, “Leadership is bringing the best of yourself to a situation and putting energy into it.” Over a wonderful meal, graciously provided by McKinsey, we were able to have the opportunity to learn from and socialize with interesting and passionate individuals.
Towards the end we were guided through creating our own network maps. We identified the people we closely worked with, those who have impacted us on a frequent basis, to the relationships which we give more than take, and to sour relationships that are make us mentally unhealthy. Visually, we were able to see the impact of each relationship and identify our network. It was a very personal activity and enabled us to reflect on our relationships. In the end, we were equipped with our very own network maps and on track to potentially discovering possible mentors and improving current relationships.
Throughout the event, members had the opportunity to speak with professionals from the consulting world and to gain valuable insights about the industry. This was a great chance for many to learn more about how they might get involved in consulting, case studies and more. It was a great pleasure to learn about consulting and leadership concepts, especially from such talented and passionate individuals. Such learning opportunities are invaluable and were greatly appreciated by all in attendance.
YWiB members who were unable to attend but are interested in learning more are invited to read Joanna Barsh’s research. Those interested in a deeper exploration of the concepts of Centered Leadership can also discover Barsh's books entitled “How Remarkable Women Lead” and “Centered Leadership”.