McKinsey’s Five Big Moves that increase the odds of breakout success

They work just as well for personal and professional growth.

I was dumbstruck after reading that 78% of business strategies do not affect growth.

According to research based on data gathered over ten years, the odds that your strategy will do much more than keep up with your competitors is less than 1 in 10!

Odds like that make you think twice about the time you spend working evenings and weekends on refining that winning strategy.

But what about the hundreds of articles, case studies and books about successful strategies that change the fortunes of companies and people?

If winning strategies are this rare, then what’s different about the companies that shoot for the moon and make that jump repeatedly?

The answer: People.

Companies inherit the shortcomings, biases and insecurities of the people leading them.

And behind every successful strategy, there are people who decide to do things differently and overcome their deficiencies.

According to McKinsey consultants Chris Bradley, Martin Hirt and Sven Smit, there are five things you need to do differently.

The 5 Big Moves behind winning strategies.

  1. Programmatic mergers & acquisitions/divestitures.
  2. Dynamic allocation of resources.
  3. Strong capital expenditure.
  4. Strength of productivity program.
  5. Improvements in differentiation.

Based on the 5 Big Moves, Corning Inc’s strategy helped them go from a 99% drop in share price in October 2002 to an average annual increase of $1,7 billion in economic profit by 2014.

Behind the corporate jargon, there are five habits that improve your odds of success in life and at work.

1. Stop wasting your time.

When you’re chasing every good option that comes your way, you deprive yourself of the chance of going after a great one.

You indeed need to try many things before you even find a great option, but that same logic leads people to invest – and keep investing – in things that don’t produce any value.

FOMO is strong enough to make you throw good money after bad.

I should know because I used to get bored quickly and chase shiny things.

Now I ask myself three questions to curb my enthusiasm:

  • How would my life be if I never did anything new after today?
  • What kind of life do I want?
  • What are the things I should be doing to get the type of life I want?

2. Spend time on things that matter.

Once you have identified 2 – 3 things, make time to do them.

Now, I have a 9-to-5, a wife and a 4-yo daughter. Most of my free time is taken – all the more reason for me to make the most of my free time.

During my free time, I work in batches.

Batching requires pre-planning, clear communication with others and keeping your commitments.

Batch your important work into continuous sessions. This will help you get important things done quicker.

3. Invest in yourself.

Investing in yourself is intimidating. It can feel time-consuming and confusing.

You might also feel the need to give your time to other people or other things that seem more worthwhile than figuring out where you need to improve.

It’s hard to start, but once you do, the process itself becomes rewarding.

When you decide to learn something and spend time doing it, your brain will build a white matter called myelin that helps improve your overall performance – making learning a more rewarding experience.

4. Build a habit to focus without distractions.

In a day, you have a limited amount of energy for focus. Different studies put the number around 4 hours per day. That’s your peak effective time.

And trying to extend it with coffee or energy drinks might get you an hour or two more, but that’ll harm you over time.

A better choice is to schedule regular sessions for focusing without any distractions.

5. Do your thing.

The world is full of sameness. 

Everything has been done, but you haven’t done it yet. Start with borrowing the habits of people you admire but over time, find your way.

I started my newsletter a year ago to deal with the lockdown and the everlasting redundancies and furloughs. 

I started with copying the greats like Morning Brew, VOX, Dave Pell, and many more.

I mixed and matched their tools, advice and habits to build my own style and format for writing. 

I had many more subscribers when I was writing like everyone else, and I’ve lost nearly 20% of them since I got more focused.

That made me second guess myself.

But my wife, who has much thicker skin as a writer, told me to stick it out. And I’m glad that I did.

Those who have stayed not only like hearing from me each week, but they also consistently read my emails and share their feedback with me as well.

You don’t stand out by being a copy of a copy.

You have the potential and capability to do great things. But you’re unsure. You think that doing something bold would be too different from what everyone else is doing.

You think that if there were a different way, someone would have tried it already.

You’re that someone.

👉 PS. Thanks for reading. Have a friend who'd love this?