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Connect - Interview with McKinsey Partner Robin Nuttall

Why being radically connected with society is not just the right thing to do, it is an imperative for a company's bottom line

Partner in McKinsey's London office. Robin Nuttall leads McKinsey's Regulatory and Government Practice-TotalPicture interviewRobin Nuttall

Connect: How Companies Succeed by Engaging Radically with Society (published by PublicAffairs); is a timely wakeup call for business to proactively engage with society instead of acting above or against it.

Welcome to a Leadership Channel Podcast on TotalPicture, show host Peter Clayton is joined today by frequent contributor David Dalka.

Connect is written by John Browne (former CEO of BP), Robin Nuttall (Partner at McKinsey & Company) and Tommy Stadlen (formerly with McKinsey, currently a tech entrepreneur).

Joining us today is Robin Nuttall, Partner in McKinsey's London office. Robin leads McKinsey's Regulatory and Government Practice and has served both regulators and regulated clients on strategy and organizational issues across a range of sectors and geographies.

There is an enormous prize for leaders who engage creatively and constructively with society, and who make its needs part of their company's business model. The evidence presented in Connect shows that the value of radical connection amounts to 30 percent of corporate earnings. The shares of companies that connect outperform those of competitors by 2 percent every year, amounting to a performance boost of 20 percent over a decade. Connect rejects stale ideas about corporate social responsibility disconnected from commercial activity and from the needs of real people. It identifies four tenets of "connected leadership," a radical new paradigm that shows how companies and executives can thrive by close engagement with society.

Through insightful analysis and vivid storytelling-ranging from ancient China, Andrew Carnegie and the Homestead Strike of the late nineteenth century, to oil spills and privacy issues emanating from the technology of the twenty-first-Connect explores the recurring rift between business and society and proposes a way in which companies can prosper by connecting with the world around them.

Talking Points

PETER: Connect is written by John Browne the former CEO of BP, yourself - a McKinsey partner, and a former McKinsey consultant who is now a tech entrepreneur. Pardon the pun, but how did you three connect to write Connect?

PETER: What is the central leadership concept presented in your book?

DAVID: This book was launched in Europe and is now being launched in the United States. How did that come to be and what reactions about the book surprised you the most?

DAVID: Why is there a recurring rift between big business and society? DAVID: So how should executives radically engage society?

PETER: You mention that you have seen clients lock into thinking that their past behavior was right. How can one reverse that paradigm?

DAVID: Why do people repeat the mistakes of hundreds or thousands of years ago?

PETER: According to the book, only 18% of people trust business leaders today? Is that a global statistic? Why is that?

PETER: What role does the consulting firm advising the business leader play in that trust perception?

PETER: You advocate external focus, do consulting firms need to migrate away from the college hiring model to achieve true age diversity?

DAVID: In what ways is obtaining consulting from a government different than a business?

DAVID: How is serving a government client different?

PETER: The book asserts that CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) has failed and is dead - yet here in the US it is still considered quite valuable - especially in recruiting.

PETER: What did you learn from participating in the writing of Connect?


David Dalka is a CEO advisor and keynote speaker at Fearless Revival

Peter Clayton

About Peter Clayton

Peter Clayton, Producer/Host, is an award-winning producer/director of radio, television, documentary, video, interactive and Web-based media who has created breakthrough media for a wide array of Fortune 100 clients.


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