Gandhi & MLK's application of the McKinsey Influence Model to drive transformational change

Lately I've been thinking about how to lead teams across an organization to work towards a common goal to transform the organization. I've been finding that the 4 components of the McKinsey Influence Model form a robust framework for working towards transformation. Two masters of applying this framework who we can learn from are Mahatma Gandhi and Reverend Martin Luther King Jr..

For example, several hundreds of thousands of protestors participatedand over 60,000 were arrestedas part of Gandhi's Salt March in 1930, a transformational event in India's history. King was one of the prime speakers and helped organize several transformational events in US history such as the Selma-to-Montgomery voting rights marches, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and the March on Washington, which had nearly 300,000 participants. I've attempted to summarize the way they achieved transformation through each of the 4 drivers of the McKinsey Influence Model in this figure:

McKinsey Influence Model Gandhi Martin Luther King Jr MLK Mahatma Case Interview PEI Personal Experience Interview Consulting


Imagine if you were a prospective boycott participant in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955. You'd be hearing about the opportunity to participate in a bus boycott (Formal Mechanisms). The leader of the boycott is a young church minister, Martin Luther King Jr., who courageously volunteered to lead the boycott despite the risks it'd bring to his physical safety (Role Modeling). You regularly hear his soaring oratory at events in the community, in which he points out the injustice and hypocrisy of the law requiring certain citizens to sit at the back of the city buses (Fostering Understanding). Plus, this young minister has organized carpools and discounted taxi fares to make it easier for you to participate in boycotting the city buses (Developing Skills). You can see why so many people subscribed and how the Montgomery Bus Boycott was the beginning of a transformational period of leadership from MLK.

I encourage you to think about this 4-component framework for bringing about transformational change across whatever team or organization you are apart of: whether that's growing EBITDA, improving customer experience, or hitting any other target you set.

Did Gandhi fall short of preventing the Partition of British India into India and Pakistan due to not executing in all 4 components as he did so successfully for Independence? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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