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The McKinsey 7S Framework is a management model developed by well-known business consultants Robert H. Waterman, Jr.

and Tom Peters (who also developed the MBWA-- "Management By Walking Around" motif, and authoredIn Search of Excellence) in the 1980s. This was a strategic vision for groups, to include businesses, business units, and teams. The 7S are structure, strategy, systems, skills, style, staff and shared values.

The model is most often used as a tool to assess and monitor changes in the internal situation of an organization. The model is based on the theory that, for an organization to perform well, these seven elements need to be aligned and mutually reinforcing. So, the model can be used to help identify what needs to be realigned to improve performance, or to maintain alignment (and performance) during other types of change. Whatever the type of change restructuring, new processes, organizational merger, new systems, change of leadership, and so on the model can be used to understand how the organizational elements are interrelated, and so ensure that the wider impact of changes made in one area is taken into consideration.

When it comes to asking the right questions, we've developed a Mind Tools checklist and a matrix to keep track of how the seven elements align with each other. Supplement these with your own questions, based on your organization's specific circumstances and accumulated wisdom.

OBJECTIVE OF THE MODEL To analyze how well an organization is positioned to achieve its intended objective Usage

Improve the performance of a company Examine the likely effects of future changes within a company Align departments and processes during a merger or acquisition Determine how best to implement a proposed strategy

The Seven Interdependent Elements The basic premise of the model is that there are seven internal aspects of an organization that need to be aligned if it is to be successful Hard Elements Strategy Structure Systems Soft Elements Shared Values Skills Style Staff

McKinsey 7S

The 7S model is a strategic model that can be used for any of the following purposes:

Organizational alignment or performance improvement Understanding the core and most influential factors in an organizations strategy Determining how best to realign an organization to a new strategy or other organization design

Examining the current workings and relations an organization exhibits

The model, made famous by the McKinsey consulting company, is good for a thorough discussion around an organizations activities, infrastructure, and interactions.

-The model and its usage-

Here is the 7S model that portrays seven elements of an organization.

I define the elements as follows:

Strategy This is the organizations alignment of resources and capabilities to win in its market.

Structure This describes how the organization is organized. This includes roles, responsibilities and accountability relationships.

Systems This is the business and technical infrastructure that employees use on a day to day basis to accomplish their aims and goals.

Shared Values This is a set of traits, behaviors, and characteristics that the organization believes in. This would include the organizations mission and vision.

Style This is the behavioral elements the organizational leadership uses and culture of interaction.

Staff This is the employee base, staffing plans and talent management.

Skills This is the ability to do the organizations work. It reflects in the performance of the organization.

To assess each of these elements, here are some questions to ask:


What is the organizations strategy seeking to accomplish? How does the organization plan to use its resources and capabilities to deliver that?

What is distinct about this organization? How does the organization compete? How does the organization adapt to changing market conditions?


How is the organization organized? What are the reporting and working relationships (hierarchical, flat, silos, etc.)? How do the employees align themselves to the strategy? How are decisions made? Is it based off of centralization, empowerment, decentralization or other approaches?

How is information shared (formal and informal channels) across the organization?


What are the primary business and technical systems that drive the organization? What and where are the system controls? How is progress and evolution tracked? What internal rules and processes does the team utilize to maintain course?

Shared Values

What is the mission of the organization? What is the vision to get there? If so, what is it? What are the ideal versus real values? How do the values play out in daily life? What are the founding values that the organization was built upon?


What is the management/leadership style like? How do they behave? How do employees respond to management/leadership? Do employees function competitively, collaboratively, or cooperatively? Are there real teams functioning within the organization or are they just nominal groups?

What behaviors, tasks and deliverables does management/leadership reward?


What is the size of the organization? What are the staffing needs? Are there gaps in required capabilities or resources? What is the plan to address those needs?


What skills are used to deliver the core products and/or services? Are these skills sufficiently present and available?

Are there any skill gaps? What is the organization known for doing well? Do the employees have the right capabilities to do their jobs? How are skills monitored, assessed, and improved?

Once the questions are answered, the data should be examined. The analysis should look for the following aspects:


Alignment Conflicts Gaps Support Strengths Weaknesses

The uses of the model can be as a static picture to determine how effectively the organization is implementing its strategy. Also, it can be used two-fold with a current state and an intended future state. By comparing the current and future states, gaps can be assessed, which lead to improvement and action plans. That latter case makes enables the model to be used for large scale change.


Like any model, there are good fits and poor fits. This is a handy model for taking a snapshot and comparing that to the desired state or improvement. It visually shows how everything is linked and understanding the larger implications of change can be very revealing. It is much like how a general doctor can help diagnose a patients situation, but the fine-tuned skill of a surgeon can be used to make the specific, desired changed.

Definition of 'McKinsey 7S Model'

A model of organizational effectiveness that postulates that there are seven internal factors of an organization that need to be aligned and reinforced in order for it to be successful. The 7S Model was developed at McKinsey & Co. consulting firm in the early 1980s by consultants Tom Peters and Robert Waterman, authors of the management bestseller "In Search of Excellence."

Investopedia explains 'McKinsey 7S Model'

The 7S Model specifies seven factors that are classified into "hard" and "soft" elements. Hard elements are easily identified and influenced by management, while soft elements are fuzzier, more intangible and are influenced by the corporate culture. The hard elements are: strategy, structure and systems. The soft elements are: shared values, skills, style and staff.

7-S Framework of McKinsey

The 7-S framework of McKinsey is a Value Based Management (VBM) model that describes how one can holistically and effectively organize a company. Together these factors determine the way in which a corporation operates. Shared Value The interconnecting center of McKinsey's model is: Shared Values. What does the organization stands for and what it believes in. Central beliefs and attitudes.

Strategy Plans for the allocation of a firms scarce resources, over time, to reach identified goals. Environment, competition, customers.

Structure The way the organization's units relate to each other: centralized, functional divisions (topdown); decentralized (the trend in larger organizations); matrix, network, holding, etc. System The procedures, processes and routines that characterize how important work is to be done: financial systems; hiring, promotion and performance appraisal systems; information systems.

Staff Numbers and types of personnel within the organization.

Style Cultural style of the organization and how key managers behave in achieving the organizations goals. Management Styles.

Skill Distinctive capabilities of personnel or of the organization as a whole. Core Competences.

Element of 7S model

Application to digital marketing team

Key issues from practice and literature


The significance of digital marketing in influencing and Gaining appropriate budgets supporting organisations' strategy and demonstrating / delivering value and ROI from budgets. Annual planning approach. Techniques for using digital marketing to impact organisation strategy Techniques for aligning digital strategy with organisational and marketing strategy


The modification of organizational structure to support digital marketing. Integration of team with other management, marketing (corporate communications, brand marketing, direct marketing) and IT staff Use of cross-functional teams and steering groups Insourcing vs. outsourcing The development of specific processes, procedures or Campaign planning approach-integration information systems to support digital marketing


Managing/sharing customer

information Managing content quality Unified reporting of digital marketing effectiveness In-house vs. external bestof-breed vs. external integrated technology solutions Staff The breakdown of staff in terms of their background and characteristics such as IT vs. Marketing, use of contractors/consultants, age and sex. Insourcing vs. outsourcing

Achieving senior management buyin/involvement with digital marketing Staff recruitment and retention. Virtual working Staff development and training Includes both the way in which key managers behave Relates to role of digital in achieving the organizations' goals and the cultural marketing team in influencing strategy style of the organization as a whole. it is it dynamic and influential or conservative and looking for a voice Skills Distinctive capabilities of key staff, but can be interpreted as specific skill-sets of team members. Staff skills in specific areas: supplier selection, project management, Content management, specific emarketing approaches (SEO,PPC, affiliate marketing, e-mail marketing, online advertising) Improving the perception of the importance and effectiveness of the digital marketing team amongst senior managers and staff it works with (marketing generalists and IT)


Superordinate goals

The guiding concepts of the digital marketing organisation which are also part of shared values and culture. The internal and external perception of these goals may vary

What is 7-S Model? The Seven-Ss is a framework for analyzing organizations and their effectiveness. It looks at the seven key elements that make the organizations successful, or not: strategy; structure; systems; style; skills; staff; and shared values. Consultants at McKinsey & Company developed the 7S model in the late 1970s to help managers address the difficulties of organizational change. The model shows that organizational immune systems and the many interconnected variables involved make change complex, and that an effective change effort must address many of these issues simultaneously. 7-S Model A Systemic Approach to Improving Organizations The 7-S model is a tool for managerial analysis and action that provides a structure with which to consider a company as a whole, so that the organization's problems may be diagnosed and a strategy may be developed and implemented. The 7-S diagram illustrates the multiplicity interconnectedness of elements that define an organization's ability to change. The theory helped to change manager's thinking about how companies could be improved. It says that it is not just a matter of devising a new strategy and following it through. Nor is it a matter of setting up new systems and letting them generate improvements. There is no starting point or implied hierarchy - different factors may drive the business in any one organization.

Shared Values Shared values are commonly held beliefs, mindsets, and assumptions that shape how an organization behaves its corporate culture. Shared values are what engender trust. They are an interconnecting center of the 7Ss model. Values are the identity by which a company is known throughout its business areas, what the organization stands for and what it believes in, it central beliefs and attitudes. These values must be explicitly stated as both corporate objectives and individual values. Structure Structure is the organizational chart and associated information that shows who reports to whom and how tasks are both divided up and integrated. In other words, structures describe the hierarchy of authority and accountability in an organization, the way the organization's units relate to each other: centralized, functional divisions (top-down); decentralized (the trend in larger organizations); matrix, network, holding, etc. These relationships are frequently diagrammed in organizational charts. Most organizations use some mix of structures - pyramidal, matrix or networked ones - to accomplish their goals. Strategy Strategy are plans an organization formulates to reach identified goals, and a set of decisions and actions aimed at gaining a sustainable advantage over the competition. Systems Systems define the flow of activities involved in the daily operation of business, including its core processes and its support systems. They refer to the procedures, processes and routines that are used to manage the organization and characterize how important work is to be done. Systems include: Style "Style" refers to the cultural style of the organization, how key managers behave in achieving the organization's goals, how managers collectively spend their time and attention, and how they use symbolic behavior. How management acts is more important that what management says. Staff "Staff" refers to the number and types of personnel within the organization and how companies develop employees and shape basic values. Business System Business Process Management System (BPMS) Management information system Innovation system Performance management system Financial system/capital allocation system Compensation system/reward system Customer satisfaction monitoring system

Skills "Skills" refer to the dominant distinctive capabilities and competencies of the personnel or of the organization as a whole.