How to Use McKinsey's 7-S Framework: A Complete Guide (Plus FREE Template)

How to Use McKinsey's 7-S Framework: A Complete Guide (Plus FREE PowerPoint Template) Introduction, Definition, Key Questions, and FREE Template download.

How to Use McKinsey's 7-S Framework: A Complete Guide (Plus FREE Template)
How to Use McKinsey's 7-S Framework

McKinsey 7-S Framework Introduction

The McKinsey 7-S Framework is a strategy tool used to help organizations ensure that their strategies are aligned with their culture, structure, systems, and processes.

The framework was developed by management consultants McKinsey & Company in the early 1980s. The 7-S Framework is built around seven key elements: strategy, structure, systems, style, staff, skills, and shared values.

In this article, we’ll explore each of these elements and how they can be used to create a more effective and efficient organization.


What Is the McKinsey 7-S Model?

The McKinsey 7-S Model is a strategy tool that can be used to help organizations achieve their desired state. The framework is based on the premise that seven key elements must be aligned for an organization to be successful.

These elements are Strategy, Structure, Systems, Style, Staff, Skills, and Shared values. The McKinsey 7-S Model is a valuable tool for organizations of all sizes.


The Elements of the McKinsey 7-S Framework

The 7 Elements of the McKinsey 7-S Framework

The seven key elements of the McKinsey 7-S Framework are as follows

Strategy

The “why” of the business, is a statement of direction, mission, and focus that drives how people inside the organization operate.

Structure

The physical and organizational aspects of the business, including people, skills, knowledge, and culture of the organization.

Systems

The procedures, policies, structures and systems that govern, organize, and guide how people work.

Style

How people work together, the culture, language, and the “tone at the top” of the organization

Staff

The talent that is currently in the organization, including future leaders, knowledge workers, and suppliers

Skills

The development of people and the organization to achieve its vision and goals.

Shared values

The guiding principles and core values that are essential to creating a strong culture.


What are the soft and hard elements in the 7S Framework?

The 7-S McKinsey Framework differentiates between hard and soft factors:

7-S McKinsey Framework differentiates between hard and soft factors:

Hard factors

Strategy:
Target system and all measures to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage and successfully compete in the market.

Structure:
The way the business is organized. In short, the organizational chart of the company.

Systems:
Processes and procedures of the company, including reporting system and IT infrastructure.

Soft factors

Skills:
Abilities and core competencies of the company’s employees.

Staff:
Type and number of employees of the company. Measures to recruit, train, reward and motivate the staff.

Style:
The management style of the company. Culture, how the people interact with each other and the environment

Shared values (Core of the McK 7-S-Model):
Values, norms and standards that apply within the company.


McKinsey 7-S framework for successful business change

The McKinsey 7-S Framework is a valuable tool for organizations of all sizes. It can be used to assess an organization's current state and to develop a plan for how to achieve the desired state.

This can be done by answering the following questions:

  • What is our current state?
  • Where do we want to be?
  • What do we need to do to get there?

If you've answered these questions, you've implemented the McKinsey 7-S Framework. The model can also be used to assess the effectiveness of an organization.


How to implement the McKinsey 7-S Model

Before you can start looking at how to use the McKinsey 7-S Model, you need to assess your organization’s current state. Identifying your organization’s current state will help you figure out what to improve, and it will also help you prioritize your improvements.

Your organization’s current state can be broken down into three dimensions – structure, strategy, and performance. These dimensions can help you figure out where your organization stands.

Once you’ve assessed your organization’s current state, you can start working on how to use the McKinsey 7-S Model.

To start working on the 7-S key factors - Strategy, Structure, Systems, Style, Staff, Skills, and Shared values - of improvement.  In each area, you’ll want to start small, focusing on specific steps you can take to address the challenges. This will help keep your organization focused on the key areas of improvement and will help you get results in a short timeframe.

To implement a results-oriented strategy, you’ll want to make sure that your people understand the outcomes of the 7-S strategy, find ways to measure the results, and how to turn the results into action.


Summing Up

Now that you know the framework, it's time to put it into action. The McKinsey 7-S Framework can be used to help organizations develop a vision, create a vision statement, prioritize their activities and make strategic choices.

Once you understand the framework, you can use it to guide your organization's decision-making process. It will help you integrate business strategy with organizational structure, systems, staffing, and skills.

The McKinsey 7-S Framework helps organizations define their vision for the next years and set a course for success toward achieving it. The framework helps organizations better assess the future and make smart choices now.


Additional Resources

Additional resources and tools to develop and implement your strategy:

McKinsey's 3 Horizons Framework

GE McKinsey Matrix

BCG Matrix: Introduction and Excel Template

Michael E. Porter Five Forces

McKinsey 7-s Framework Template

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