The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

McKinsey. Psychopaths For Sale.

I’ve written about McKinsey in the past.

From the talk I did at their conference where I took the piss out of the, through to the infamous tweet I sent about that incident through to my begrudged respect that they are able to charge so much money for things they will never get their hands dirty in executing.

And while I am fully aware that they have some incredibly smart people in their organisation, the organisations ruthlessness towards capitalism highlights they have almost zero moral compass.

Oh they talk about their values.

They go on about their commitment to purpose and integrity.

But the more and more I did into the organisation, the more I find codes of conduct that should be regarded as criminal rather than respectful.

I’m currently reading Empire Of Pain by Patrick Radden Keefe about the opioid crisis – specifically OxyContin – created, aggressively marketed and exploited by the Sackler family.

It makes for horrific reading.

The way the family lied, denied and did all they could to separate themselves from the horror they created – blaming the victims and inventing terminology ‘pseudo-addiction’ to separate themselves from blame.

And what’s this got to do with McKinsey?


McKinsey … the value driven, purpose driven company of integrity.

More like, the money driven, moral free, promoters of human misery.

I appreciate many people value what they do.

I appreciate they have done good things for companies in the past.

But if an organisation is OK with putting forward a proposal that basically ‘buys’ companies to continue selling a product that is killing hundreds of thousands of people [current estimate is 500,000 in the US alone with many more addicted] then at what point do companies start to realise that eventually customers will start questioning them.

We all make mistakes.

We all have put forward ideas that stretch boundaries.

But I don’t know anyone who has suggested – let alone put in a proposal – that allows people to die so a client can make more money.

And they say adland has problems …

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I’ve just finished that book. It reaffirmed my view that money reveals who you really are rather than changes you. In the case of the Sackler, money showed they were egotistical, status obsessed, sociopaths. Also known as McKinsey’s perfect clients.

Comment by George

It’s such a good book about such a disgusting story.

That the Sackler family still claim they are the ones being wronged is astounding. Even their donations to the arts [while insisting their family name was highlighted in all they did] smacks of the same strategy Pablo Escobar did to get the locals on his side.

I hope they can never show their face in public again.

And as for McKinsey …

Some great people work there. Some very clever. But nothing smacks of a toxic culture than an organisation that puts forward ideas where people can die for profit growth. And yet companies still hire them. I shouldn’t be surprised. But I am very disappointed.

Comment by Rob

I think you are being a bit unfair to McKinsey.

The incident you describe is despicable but not common practice. I have worked with them on numerous occasions and found them nothing but professional.

That said, I agree any employee who feels this behaviour is acceptable is highlighting serious issues with the company culture. I would be very interested to learn if they share that view and/or have dealt with it. I think I know what you believe is the answer Robert.

Comment by Lee Hill

Is this your way of making sure Rob never talks to you again?

Comment by Bazza

Won’t stop him asking for freebies though.

Comment by Bazza

the fucking scum. on brand though.

Comment by andy@cynic

didnt the family pay off the judge dealing with their fucked up case?

Comment by andy@cynic

There is a past connection so if they did, it worked.

Comment by George

That’s what’s claimed in the book.

And if that’s the case, it makes his appointment – let alone his final judgement – even more offensive.

Comment by Rob

I must admit, I’m quite surprised this post got so few comments. It got even less on LinkedIn. Either people are scared to even think negative thoughts about McKinsey, or they like them more than I dare imagine.

Or they just ignore everything I say and write.

For once, I would rather than was the reason. Hahaha.

Comment by Rob

McKinsey once got in touch with us and asked us to propose an employee engagement strategy for them. We did the proposal, and asked for a face to face meeting to present it. They said could we send the proposal in advance which, maybe naively, we did. We never heard from them again despite numerous emails and attempted calls. So unprofessional and I honestly think they implemented what we shared…

Comment by Suzy

they absofuckinglutely stole it. and theyre making millions from it. what is even shitter is their evil is very fucking profitable.

Comment by andy@cynic

[…] A while back I wrote about how McKinsey advised a client that the best way to boost their sales was to incentivise their distribution network. […]

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