What is a McKinsey 7S Model, and what are best practices, tools and online templates for teams and organizations?
Definition of McKinsey 7S Model
The McKinsey 7S Model has stood the test of time as a framework to ensure that all parts of an organization work in harmony. The most common uses of the framework are to facilitate organizational change, implement a new strategy, identify areas that may change in the future, and to facilitate the merger of organizations.
Description of McKinsey 7S Model
The McKinsey 7S Model was developed in the late 1970s by Tom Peters and Robert Waterman, who were consultants at McKinsey & Company at the time. They identified the 7 elements in an organization that need to be aligned in order to be successful. The flexibility of the framework means it can also be used to study the effects of future changes in the organization, to align different departments during a merger, or applied to a specific team or project. The 7 elements are broken down into either “Hard” or “Soft” elements, as detailed below:
Hard Elements – Strategy, Structure and Systems:
- Strategy: This is the organization’s plan for building and maintaining a competitive edge over the competition.
- Structure: The refers to the way in which the company is organized in terms of departments, teams, and reporting.
- Systems: These are the day-to-day activities and procedures that people use to get the job done.
While the three “Hard” elements are fairly easy to identify and manage, the four “Soft” elements are less tangible and more influenced by company culture. However, they are just as important to manage as the “Hard” elements if the organization is to be successful.
Soft Elements – Shared Values, Style, Staff, Skill:
- Shared Values: These are the core values of the organization, which are usually outlined with its Mission and Vision Statements. Core values are reflected in the corporate culture and general work ethic. Originally, they were called “superordinate goals” when the model was first introduced.
- Style: This is the style of leadership used within the organization.
- Staff: This refers to the types of employee and their levels of general capability and expertise.
- Skill: This is the actual skills and competencies of the organization’s employees.
The model is usually shown as a circle with shared values in the middle and all of the other elements as spokes around it. By putting shared values in the middle, the model emphasizes that they are central to the development of the other critical elements. In addition, the model stresses that the seven elements need to be in balance in order for the organization to perform at a high level.
Tools & Templates
The tools managers typically use to develop and communicate the McKinsey 7S Model are presentations, spreadsheets, and other strategic documents.
upBOARD's Online McKinsey 7S Model Tools & Templates
Unlike most traditional McKinsey 7S Model processes, upBOARD’s online McKinsey 7S Model tools allow any team or organization to instantly begin working with our web templates and input forms. Our digital platform goes far beyond other software tools by including progress dashboards, data integration from existing documents or other SaaS software, elegant intuitive designs, and full access on any desktop or mobile device.
Learn more about upBOARD’s portfolio of other business strategy best practice tools and templates, including:
2 X 2 Matrix, ADL Matrix, Affinity Diagrams, Baker’s 4 Strategies of Influence, Balanced Scorecard, Benchmarking, Blue Ocean Strategy, Bowman Strategy Clock, Build-Measure-Learn Feedback Loop, Business Model Canvas, CAGE Distance Framework, Competitive Analysis, Competitive Landscape Analysis, Contingency Planning, Core Competence Analysis, Critical Success Factors, Discovery Driven Planning, Economic Value Added, First Mover Advantage, Five Forces Model, Force Field Analysis, Gap Analysis, GE McKinsey 9-Box Matrix, Go To Market Strategy, Hambrick & Frederickson’s Strategy Diamond, Hedgehog Model, Hook Model of Behavioral Design, Hoshin Planning System, Kay’s Distinctive Capabilities Framework, Key Outcome Indicators, Kotler’s Five Product Levels Model, Kotler’s Pricing Strategies, Lafley & Martin’s Five Step Strategy Model, McKinsey 7S Model, McKinsey’s Seven Degrees of Freedom for Growth, Mergers & Acquisitions, Mission Statements, Mullin’s Seven Domains Model, OGSM Framework, Ohmae’s 3-C’s Model, Partner Relationship Management, PEST Analysis, PESTLE Analysis, Porter’s Diamond, Portfolio Management, Purpose Statements, Pyramid of Purpose, Scenario Planning, Simonson & Rosen’s Influence Mix, SMART Performance Metrics, SMARTER Goals, SOAR, Strategic Goals, Strategy Map, Strategy Roadmap, Strategy Uncertainty Map, SWOT Analysis, TOWS Matrix, Triple Bottom Line, USP Analysis, Value Chain Analysis, Value Disciplines Model, Value Net Model, Values Statement, Vision Statements, VRIO Analysis, and Weisbord’s Six-Box Model.