In Review: Town Hall with Michael Park

In Review: Town Hall with Michael Park

To lead in the postcrisis tomorrow, put leadership and capabilities in place today

On October 20th, we hosted a Town Hall with Michael Park, Senior Partner, McKinsey & Company (New York). Michael and his colleague Daniel Pacthod recently wrote an interesting article that offers several reflections on business management and leadership as COVID unfolds. Their article, To lead in the postcrisis tomorrow, put leadership and capabilities in place today (July, 2020), can be accessed here.

In this session, Michael indicated that if you look closely, you will find bright spots amongst the chaos of the pandemic. For instance, Michael reflects that since the pandemic began, people are moving faster. Things that would normally take years – like customer behaviour changes and establishing more agile ways to meet – are falling into place quickly. Because of these unintended but positive consequences, returning to the way things were or back to “normal” is not the best path forward. Some of the systems we have implemented because of the crisis are ultimately better for business.

Two main points that resonated with our membership were Michael’s conclusions on putting tomorrow’s team in today and managing in a transformational way.

  1. Putting tomorrow’s team in today: Some of the “newer” leaders, or younger, middle managers in organizations, are finding their footing and defying problems in this difficult period. They are getting a lot of leadership experience in a condensed time right now, and their adaptable styles and problem-solving skills should not be overlooked. Michael uses wartime leadership analogies and encourages CEOs to ask: who should get the field promotion and help you to lead outperformance in the coming weeks?
  2. Managing in a transformational way: As Michael says, modern management is about safe and incremental change. We tend to aim for a 5 percent improvement, so we look for 5 percent solutions. However, more ambitious targets can unlock energy and lead to a lasting change in team performance. Michael suggests being bold and aiming for higher targets in our changing environment. When it comes to identifying transformational goals and getting buy-in from teams, Michael suggests the tactic of having your team members pretend they have a stake in the game – i.e., suggest to the team members that they are co-investors, and ask them “how would you approach things?“. Michael believes going in with that lens will lead team buy-in and ultimately transformational goals. Those kinds of questions get people thinking outside of what they are comfortable with.

More about Michael:

Michael Park is a Senior Partner based in McKinsey & Company’s New York Office. He works deeply with clients in Energy and Industrial Technology to respond to disruption and enter and compete in new markets. He also leads McKinsey Academy globally, the unit at McKinsey & Co. that provides at scale capability building to build the organizational strength of their clients. Representative work includes:

  • Multiple growth and portfolio strategy advisory engagements for industrial clients looking to disrupt their businesses with new product, service, and digital offerings 
  • One of the largest performance transformations the Firm has ever done – comprehensive strategy and operations work that drove $3.75 billion in additional cash flow for a multi-business conglomerate
  • Advisory on 60+ M&A transactions helping clients enter into new geographies (Asia), new product/digital markets, and acquire new capabilities