How many persons should I convince in my Personal Impact McKinsey PEI example?

There is no clear rule or statement from McKinsey’s perspective, whether your example should focus on only one or several persons. However, I recommend very clearly to focus your McKinsey PEI example on convincing one specific person, as opposed to several persons at once (e.g. “In this situation, I needed to convince all customer stakeholders in the project”) or organizational bodies (e.g. “In this situation, I needed to convince the board of directors of this approach”).

The main reasons for this recommendation are:

  • As soon as a third party gets involved, it’s immediately immensely more difficult to communicate your example in a structured and clear way in the very limited amount of time within the PEI
  • As long as only two persons are involved, it’s easy to follow the situation and know who is you and who is the other person you are trying to convince, and it’s also quite easy to follow what are your interests as opposed to the other person’s interests and concerns
  • As soon as a third person gets involved, it’s already a triangular relationship and it’s much more difficult to follow the situation since now the interviewer needs to clearly understand what are your interests as opposed to the interests of other person A and other person B, how your interests  are conflicting with those of other person A, how your interests are conflicting with other person B, how interests of other person A and other person B are going along with each other or how they are conflicting
  • On top of that the overall storyline will be (most likely) much more scattered since it’s not only what is happening between you and the other person, but also what happens between other person A and B over time – and all those interactions are usually not happening in a linear way which makes it even more difficult to communicate the whole situation in a structured and straight-forward way

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