McKinsey's Marvin Bower: Vision, Leadership, and the Creation of Management Consulting

Overview

"Marvin’s ideas were founded in basic human attributes of respect for others and promotion of self-esteem and courage. What made him a pioneer was that he took basic values into the business world–a fairly novel approach–to help leaders create value-based compasses for their own leadership. He valued the imagination of youth and understood the power of new ideas."
–From the Foreword by John McArthur

McKinsey & Company is one of the most successful management consulting firms in the world, serving a wide range...

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McKinsey's Marvin Bower: Vision, Leadership, and the Creation of Management Consulting

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Overview

"Marvin’s ideas were founded in basic human attributes of respect for others and promotion of self-esteem and courage. What made him a pioneer was that he took basic values into the business world–a fairly novel approach–to help leaders create value-based compasses for their own leadership. He valued the imagination of youth and understood the power of new ideas."
–From the Foreword by John McArthur

McKinsey & Company is one of the most successful management consulting firms in the world, serving a wide range of clients–from leading corporations to governments. But without the late Marvin Bower, McKinsey & Company would never have become the organization it is today. Former worldwide managing director Ron Daniel put it best when he stated that "McKinsey’s impact, reach, power, and influence are directly traceable to Marvin–to his vision, his energy, his relentless determination, and his selfless commitment to making his firm–our firm–the preeminent institution it has become."

So how did Marvin Bower transform McKinsey & Company from a nearly defunct accounting and engineering firm into the preeminent advisor to senior executives and, on occasion, governments? How did he become the founding father of modern management consulting? And how did he put his innovative ideas into action? McKinsey’s Marvin Bower: Vision, Leadership, and the Creation of Management Consulting takes you on a fascinating journey that details the personal beliefs and professional experiences that made Marvin Bower one of the most respected men in the world of business.

With the help of the late Marvin Bower and through numerous interviews with friends and colleagues, author Elizabeth Haas Edersheim offers an in-depth look at how this man made his vision of the consulting profession and the institution (McKinsey & Company) come to fruition. McKinsey’s Marvin Bower is filled with intriguing stories that capture the defining moments of Bower’s distinguished career. Decade by decade, you’ll watch as Bower develops the innovative concept of management consulting and travels throughout the business world–inspiring organizational change and courage at each stop.

Even after Bower’s retirement from McKinsey & Company, it is still fair to say that the story of Marvin Bower as an institution creator, profession builder, teacher, and leader’s leader can provide valuable lessons applicable to a variety of professions–lessons as valuable today as they were in 1933, when Bower first joined McKinsey & Company.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“As well as being an excellent biography, it is the best handbook on leadership that has been published for many years.” (Professional Manager, Vol.13, No.6, November 2004)

“Read this book if you really want to understand what makes McKinseyites tick.” (Business Voice- The CBI Magazine, September 2004)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471652854
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 4/12/2004
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Lexile: 1190L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.21 (w) x 6.14 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

ELIZABETH HAAS EDERSHEIM worked for more than a year with Bower, completing the manuscript shortly before his death. Edersheim holds a PhD from MIT and worked at McKinsey from 1979 to 1988. She was the first woman partner in the Cleveland office and was a global leader of the firm’s operations and manufacturing practices. After leaving McKinsey, Dr. Haas Edersheim founded New York Consulting Partners, Inc., and was the managing director for thirteen years until the firm was sold. She is now a strategic advisor to a number of companies, currently working with three Fortune 500 companies. She has written numerous articles for publications including the the New York Times, the Harvard Business Review, and the Wall Street Journal.

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Table of Contents

FOREWORD.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS.

PART I: Translating a Vision into Reality.

CHAPTER 1: Marvin Bower.

CHAPTER 2: The Vision.

CHAPTER 3: The Profession and the Institution.

CHAPTER 4: Defining Moments of Leadership and Influence.

PART II: A Leader’s Leader.

CHAPTER 5: The Bower Reach.

CHAPTER 6: Inspiring Organizational Courage.

CHAPTER 7: Educating a Generation of Leaders.

AUTHOR’S NOTE.

APPENDIX A: Timeline.

APPENDIX B: Brief Biography.

APPENDIX C: McKinsey & Co. Partners’ Conference, 1964.

NOTES.

LIST OF INTERVIEWEES.

INDEX.

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2005

    Highly Recommended !

    Marvin Bower may be the most influential businessman you¿ve never heard of. The firm he shaped into an international powerhouse, McKinsey & Company, doesn¿t bear his name, and he never made splashy public gifts. Yet the company that spawned the management consulting industry would not exist today without this remarkable man¿s clear, compelling vision. Bower or his consultants transformed countless companies and executives for the better. Here, author Elizabeth Haas Edersheim assembles dozens of testimonials to Marvin Bower¿s integrity, honesty and drive to excel. Her book contains the story of his life, but it reads less like a biography and more like a Harvard Business School case study - a bit dry, and chock-full of interview transcripts rather than compelling narrative. However, its similarity to a case study is oddly appropriate, since Bower was one of the first graduates of the Harvard Business School and remained connected with it for many years, even defending its case study method of teaching when it came under attack in the late 1970s. We recommend this book to leaders, to those who aspire to lead and to consultants who want to study the best of their profession in action.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2004

    Must Read

    Having spent the past 20 years in consulting, I've read alot of business books and always buy a new book with the expressed purpose of learning something new. McKinsey's Marvin Bower did not disappoint. Although I bought it to read about Marvin Bower, the myth, I learned much more about Marvin Bower the man and his impact on principles I had been practicing throughout my career, and without knowing why. This book provides fundamental lessons on how to do it right --from creating values that guide an organization to placing customer and client interests first. To me, McKinsey was a side bar, the real story is about Marvin Bower and his impact on 20th century business. As such, it's a must read for everyone and anyone interested in 'getting it right' regardless of their profession.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2004

    Lessons from the inventor of management consulting

    This is a wonderful, swift read, which uses anecdotes from renowned business leaders who were influenced by Marvin Bower, the creator of management consulting, to illustrate his ideas and methods. There is a lot to learn here that illustrates the importance of integrity, communication and business fundamentals. Escape the trends, improve your business fundamentals, and have a lot of fun doing it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2004

    Proof that Success in Business CAN be Based on Integrity!

    A compelling portrait of a leader who seemed to find just the right combination for success ¿ creating value for clients, unwavering integrity, leading from the front, selflessness in the interest of the business¿ sustainability, consistency of vision and personal actions and continuous communication with and interest in his people. Bower¿s vision, values and approach shaped a generation of successful leaders. This book leaves you thinking about how you can be a better leader and wishing that you¿d been fortunate enough to work for Marvin Bower. In an age of corporate scandals, it¿s refreshing and inspiring to read about a greatly successful leader with true integrity and how that integrity was an integral part of his success.

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