Marvin Bower turned down an offer from billionaire Howard Hughes because he didn’t think the eccentric businessman would listen to him. In fact, walking away from money is precisely what helped build Bower’s premier consulting firm, McKinsey & Co., from the time he joined its founder in 1933.
Why? Bower always used three guiding principles:
Never let money keep you from telling the truth.
Always put your customers’ interests first.
Agree to work only if you can deliver real value.
Example: McKinsey consultants had just begun presenting the results of some research to one of their biggest clients when its chief executive started interrupting and disputing them. Finally, Bower shouted, “The problem with this company, Mr. X, is you!” McKinsey lost the account but burnished its reputation.
—Adapted from “McKinsey Management Guru Marvin Bower,” Jed Graham, Investor’s Business Daily.
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