CorporateFebruary 17, 2020

Strategy& alumni profile: Nancy McKinstry on leadership and what it takes to deliver results

In a recent Strategy& interview with Jen Swetzoff, Wolters Kluwer CEO Nancy McKinstry discusses how her consulting background helped pave the way to delivering transformative results for the company.

Prior to being named Wolters Kluwer CEO in 2003, Nancy McKinstry spent 8 years working with Booz Allen Hamilton (now Strategy&), a global strategy consulting firm. In this alumnus profile she discusses a leader’s role in a transformation, outlines key leadership challenges, and shares three skills she learned as a consultant that still guide her approach to decision-making today.

Leadership in a volatile age

As McKinstry explains, ‘The majority of my job as CEO is decision making’. Making decisions in an age of economic volatility forces leaders to be nimble. The ability to change and pivot as you go is essential. Continually updated three-year plans have replaced five-year strategic plans. Scenario planning is now an everyday agenda point for today’s leadership teams.

Three valuable skills to help deliver results

In the alumni profile, McKinstry goes on to share the three most valuable skills she learned as a consultant that guide her own approach to decision making:

  1. A rigorous approach to dissecting a problem helps surface the right solution—and solutions should always be fact-based.
  2. Working as a team: leaders need to nurture a team who are fully committed to your vision, and are empowered to act upon it.
  3. Strong communication is crucial; leaders should ensure they have a strong elevator pitch, can succinctly state priorities, and clearly explain ‘why’.

As she concludes, together, these skills will help you reach the most important goal of all: to deliver results.