I just completed by 5th book of the year, The McKinsey Mind by Ethan Rasiel & Paul N. Friga. I committed to read 24 books this year, so I’m behind by one book.

The McKinsey Mind seeks to describe the process that a McKinsey strategy consultant follows when on assignment. I’ve been interested in the process of problem solving and the methodical way in which McKinsey consultants frame a problem, determine a hypothesis then confirm or deny the hypothesis. There were a host of take-ways from the book so I’ll just focus on one key concept, MECE – Mutually Exclusive Collectively Exhaustive.

MECE is a way of problem solving by organizing or grouping information into subsets where the subsets are both mutually exclusive (ME) and collectively exhaustive (CE). Making sure the subsets are mutually exclusive ensures that there are no overlaps or redundant information. Making sure the subsets are collectively exhaustive ensures that you’ve covered all the bases and there are no gaps in information.

Using the MECE concept to solve a problem helps you to methodically work through all the key drivers to a problem and bucket them appropriately. Once the items are bucketed you can create a hypothesis on how to solve each problem. MECE helps to make sure you haven’t overlooked anything. According to the book:

“Being MECE in the context of problem solving means separating your problem into distinct, nonoverlapping issues while making sure that no issues relevant to your problem have been overlooked.”

This concept can force you to structure your thinking and bring order to a chaotic set of issues. Being more structured in your thinking and problem solving can help you arise at a conclusion faster, make better decisions and in turn build a more successful business.

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