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McKinsey 7-S Framework "Making Every Part of Your Organization Work in Harmony"

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Do you know how well your organization is positioned to achieve its goals? Or what elements influence its ability to implement change successfully?

Models of organizational effectiveness go in and out of fashion, but the McKinsey 7-S framework has stood the test of time.

The model was developed in the late 1970s by Tom Peters and Robert Waterman, former consultants at McKinsey & Company. They identified seven internal elements of an organization that need to align for it to be successful.

The McKinsey 7S Model refers to a tool that analyses a company’s ‘organizational design.’ The goal of the model is to depict how effectiveness can be achieved in an organization through the interactions of seven key elements – Structure, Strategy, Skill, System, Shared Values, Style, and Staff.

 The focus of the McKinsey 7s Model lies in the interconnectedness of the elements that are categorized by ‘Soft Ss’ and ‘Hard Ss’ – implying that a domino effect exists when changing one element in order to maintain an effective balance. Placing ‘Shared Values’ as the ‘centre’ reflects the crucial nature of the impact of changes in founder values on all other elements.

Structure of the McKinsey 7S Model

Structure, Strategy, and Systems collectively account for the ‘Hard Ss’ elements, whereas the remaining are considered “Soft Ss.”

  • Structure: Structure is the way in which a company is organized – chain of command and accountability relationships that form its organizational chart.
  • Strategy: Strategy refers to a well-curated business plan that allows the company to formulate a plan of action to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage, reinforced by the company’s mission and values.
  • System: Systems entail the business and technical infrastructure of the company that establishes workflows and the chain of decision-making.
  • Skill: Skills form the capabilities and competencies of a company that enables its employees to achieve its objectives.
  • Style: The attitude of senior employees in a company establishes a code of conduct through their ways of interactions and symbolic decision-making, which forms the management style of its leaders.
  • Staff: Staff involves talent management and all human resources related to company decisions, such as training, recruiting, and rewards systems.
  • Shared Values: The mission, objectives, and values form the foundation of every organization and play an important role in aligning all key elements to maintain an effective organizational design.

You can use the 7-S model to help analyse your current situation, your proposed future situation and to identify gaps and inconsistencies between them; making every part of your organization work in harmony.

Hamza Bin Abdullah
10-03-2021

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