7s McKinsey What You Need to Know


This article will provide an overview of the 7S McKinsey model, how it works, and its benefits to an organization.

Definition of 7s McKinsey Model

The 7s McKinsey Model is a management tool developed in the late 1970s by Tom Peters and Robert Waterman of the consulting company McKinsey & Co. It consists of seven elements: structure, strategy, systems, shared values, style, staff and skills.

The model is used to help managers identify how changes in one element can affect the others in order to improve organizational performance.

The model provides that all seven elements need to be balanced and aligned for an organization to realize its potential. This enables businesses to identify issues concerning internal structure and processes so they can bring about beneficial change and develop a healthy working culture amongst a team or organization. Therefore, it is critical for leadership teams to understand the 7s structure of their company or business unit in order to assess which elements are not performing well or causing organizational impediments that could hinder growth and progress.

The 7s

The 7s model is a tool that is developed by McKinsey and Company, a consulting firm. It’s used to analyze how well companies or organizations are aligned with the changes going on in their industry or in the wider environment.

The 7s Model consists of seven internal elements:

  • Strategy
  • Structure
  • Systems
  • Staff
  • Skills
  • Style
  • Shared Values

Let’s take a closer look at each of these elements.


Strategy is the most important component of the 7s model, as this should be the driving force behind how firms direct their resources and allocate their positions within the other 6 factors. A strong strategy will guide the organization itself, its people, structure, systems and style. It takes an awareness of markets, competitors, economic trends and consumer trends to develop a successful track record. It also requires balancing short-term goals with long-term objectives to ensure success in the present while positioning for success in the future.

Developing a strategy involves getting great ideas from all stakeholders – employees at all levels, suppliers and customers – then finding common ground between different perspectives and viewpoints that often compete with one another. The output is a clear mission statement that everyone understands and supports, along with achievable strategies to align people towards achieving it successfully.

Once strategies have been developed, they then need to be monitored constantly through ongoing assessments of external market conditions but also internal operations:

  • Are teams working well together?
  • Is progress towards targets being made?
  • Are any initiatives having a detrimental effect on other business processes?

These questions should allow leaders detect any changes early on in order to respond effectively before goals become unachievable or staff disengage from their roles.


The seven structural elements of the 7S Framework are as follows:

  1. Strategy: this includes both the firm’s mission and goals, as well as the more concrete operational decisions made to align resources with strategic objectives.
  2. Structure: this element looks at how a company is organized, including the internal hierarchy of decision making and workflows.
  3. Systems: this considers the formal and informal information networks, processes and protocols that shape how things are done in an organization.
  4. Skills: these refer to both individual capabilities, i.e., what employees have been trained to do or have naturally acquired through experience; and broader organizational competencies that enable performance in different areas like customer service, product development or marketing.
  5. Shared values: these are fundamental beliefs – often implicit – that shape general attitudes towards work which can range from conservative to entrepreneurial Risk-taking or consensus building behavior of employees
  6. Staff: this element is concerned with people – HR policies in recruitment, retention, development and succession planning – as well as leadership styles and culture developed by key managers over time;
  7. Style: This represents ‘the way things get done’ in a particular organization such as attitudes towards continuous improvement or customer service excellence.


Developing effective systems is essential to success in any organization. The Systems aspect of the 7s McKinsey model focuses on the formal and informal structures that are in place in a company and how they support goals and objectives. This includes organizational structures, processes, protocols, systems of governance, decision-making models, information systems, employee motivation mechanisms.

  • Organizational Structures: Primary structures such as reporting hierarchies and job descriptions create an understanding of roles, responsibilities and authority.
  • Processes: Practices that describe how work gets done from ideation through delivery. These should be robust enough to anticipate any potential failure points.
  • Protocols: Defined behavior by which an organization operates; i.e., company policies that outline interaction between departments or employees.
  • Systems of Governance: The mechanisms for management oversight and direction throughout the organization.
  • Decision-Making Models: Guidance to handle unknown events or conflict resolution when necessary.
  • Information Systems: How everyone stays connected with real-time data and up-to-date status reports on projects or tasks at hand.
  • Employee Motivation Mechanisms: Policies or procedures implemented to increase engagement in order to meet goals promptly while maintaining a culture of reliability and respect across the organization.

Shared Values

The idea behind Shared Values is that a company’s success is dependent on its shared values. Shared values are the beliefs, morality and ethics that are shared among a company’s employees and are reflected in the attitude they bring to work every day. These values shape how the company works and how it succeeds, so it’s important for businesses of any size to strive for consistency in their core values.

Shared values can include anything from a commitment to customer service to a dedication to innovation or even ideals about corporate social responsibility. All of these shared values contribute to a corporate culture of mutual respect, collaboration, and integrity among employees. Additionally, these same shared values will often be reflected in an organization’s mission statement, code of conduct and employee engagement surveys.

It’s vital that employees understand their company’s shared values and take them into account when making decisions as well as interacting with colleagues, customers and stakeholders. In doing so, organizations create meaningful connections between their employees that help improve their overall performance. By recognizing this connection between people and excellence in practice, McKinsey & Co have developed the 7S framework which stands for strategy, structure, systems, shared values style & staff which provides an invaluable tool for understanding how people work together within crowdsourced teams or organizations of any size or type worldwide.


Style represents the way in which the team works together and communicates. In this stage of the 7s model, managers should identify how different individuals interact with one another, how decisions are made and ultimately, who on the team is driving progress. Furthermore, Style also describes how potential changes are accepted and in what manner feedback is given to one another.

It’s also important to address any possible internal problems that could be preventing a team from succeeding. For instance,

  • low morale,
  • lack of trust among members, or
  • members who are not working well together

may require additional focus from management in order to be addressed effectively.

Finally, Style will also highlight how individual beliefs and values fit into a group dynamic and can help teams come up with shared goals for the future development of their business.


The Staff element of the 7s system includes any and all personnel in your organization that are essential to it’s success and achieving its mission. This includes but is not limited to managers, supervisors, internal staff and external contractors.

Staff should possess the necessary skills and abilities to carry out their task at hand; and management must regularly assess the suitability of each member and determine whether there is an understanding of the company’s culture, strategy, values, structures and systems.

Staff must take part in educational courses or training to ensure continued job satisfaction as well as proper execution of their duties. The duties of staff must match their personalities; as this will create a degree lf enthusiasm leading to increased productivity.

Additionally, management must review any performance gaps from personnel by looking at issues like personality clashes or lack of experience while making sure they both support each other with the proper salaries, incentive plans and benefits packages. Creation of a comprehensive staff-assessment policy will ensure employees have a clear understanding of what is expected from them. Doing so may help reduce conflicts among employees while promoting accountability and loyalty throughout the organization.


The main challenge leveraged by the 7s model is identifying and analyzing the skills that allow businesses to operate effectively and efficiently. Skill development involves a focused benchmarking exercise where individuals take action on their own learning to improve.

Skills are divided into two categories: Core skills and individual skills. Core skills refer to essential knowledge or techniques an individual or team has developed in the performance of their job. They represent the cumulative learning of each member that must be maintained over time. Examples include financial literacy, industry expertise, problem-solving, creativity, communication, negotiation, and team work.

Individual skills refer to those abilities each team member has developed individually in order to be effective in their role within the organization. Examples include leadership capabilities, technical proficiency, customer service ability, financial responsibility, interpersonal effectiveness and administrative aptitude.

The upshot is that there is a need for teams to constantly analyze and improve their core competencies as well as striving for improvement across all team members with respect to relevant individual competencies in order for an organization to remain successful over time.

Benefits of 7s McKinsey Model

The 7s McKinsey model is a powerful and effective tool for businesses to identify and strategize potential areas of improvement. This model provides businesses with an in-depth look at the ‘7 Ss’ of their structure, strategy, systems, staff, skills, style and shared values. By examining each aspect of the model, businesses can gain an overall understanding of their current and future operations, and identify areas of improvement.

Let’s explore the benefits of the 7s McKinsey model:

Improved organizational alignment

Organizational alignment is key to achieving the organization’s objectives – an organization needs to ensure that the parts of its operations are aligned in order to achieve its goals. The 7s model helps to improve organizational alignment by focusing on seven core elements that create synergy and have a major impact on the whole organization. These elements are structure, strategy, systems, skills, staff, shared values and style.

  • Structure element ensures that people have clear roles and responsibilities, allowing them to focus on one goal.
  • Strategy element concentrates on creating a plan of action in order to achieve the desired outcomes.
  • Systems element facilitates information flow throughout the company so that everyone remains informed and up-to-date.
  • Skills element helps ensure that employees have the necessary equipment and knowledge in order to succeed.
  • Staff element highlights existing talent within the organization, what kind of people work within it and how they can help achieve end results.
  • Shared values guide team members as they strive for common organizational goals and implement strategic plans; these values should be communicated regularly among all members of staff.
  • Style should also be driving towards consistent performance path with consideration given towards leadership characteristics influencing decision-making processes within an organization.

By focusing on each element individually and obtaining improved alignment among them all together – it is possible for organizations to maximize their potential with powerful end results achievable when each individual part works effectively in tandem with the whole entity driving forward towards success!

Increased efficiency

The 7s model is a useful tool to assess and improve the efficiency of an organization. It was developed by strategy consultants, Tom Peters and Robert Waterman, in 1985 at McKinsey & Company.

Organizational change frameworks help businesses restructure and can increase efficiency. The 7s model identifies seven internal elements of an organization that need to be aligned if it is going to be successful. The seven elements are: strategy, structure, systems, shared values, style, staff and skills. All of these elements must be working together in order for the organization to compete effectively on the market.

The increased efficiency is seen in how the 7s model breaks down complex concepts related to corporate success into simple ideas that can be easily understood and managed. Ultimately this means better decision-making across multiple hierarchies of management and better performance from departments within a business or organization. By creating strong alignment between strategy, systems, process flows and people skills practitioners can identify potential issues more quickly which leads to earlier intervention measures to address them. With efficient operations come greater productivity gains thus leading to greater profitability for stakeholders within the company as well as wider reaching economic impacts across regions or markets where they operate in.

In addition, when applying a 7s model helps managers understand better their company’s strengths/weaknesses while making sure that all structured initiatives are directly linked with unstructured initiatives that may exist outside or beyond tangible parameters (e.g., shared values).

Enhanced communication

The 7s McKinsey model helps to foster strong communication among team members and stakeholders. When used in alignment with the other six elements of the 7s McKinsey framework, enhanced communication brings about a number of positive impacts.

  • It encourages collective discussion and problem-solving by providing a common language for stakeholders.
  • It can also allow for proactive identification and management of conflicts among team members as well as potential issues before they arise.
  • Moreover, enhanced communication ensures everyone is on the same page when it comes to understanding an organization’s values, goals, strategies and actions. This way, both teams and stakeholders can make well-informed decisions that are aligned with the company’s overall vision.
  • Ultimately, effective communication is essential for ensuring sustainable organizational success over time; it allows organizations to adapt rapidly to shifts in the market while also managing long-term risks.

How to Implement 7s McKinsey Model

7s McKinsey is a model that helps businesses to identify and analyze key elements in their structure and culture. It is a powerful strategy for improving effectiveness. By understanding the seven elements of the model, companies can identify potential issues in their organization and address them to become more successful.

This section will discuss how to implement the 7s McKinsey model in your business:

Analyze the current situation

The process of implementing the 7s McKinsey model begins with analyzing the current situation. This includes assessing your organization’s state and generating data regarding its structure, systems, staff, shared values, strategy and style. It is important to have a strong understanding of the current state of your organization in order to be able to make an accurate assessment of where change is needed.

Data should be collected from various sources in your organization, such as surveys or interviews with personnel or research into existing records and performance reviews. You may want to include suggestions from both employees and management in order to get a comprehensive understanding of the climate within the organization.

Once you have this information, you can begin to identify how each aspect of the 7s McKinsey model influences your organization’s overall strategy process and culture. This will help you gain insight into how each area may need improvement or alteration in order to bring about positive change and boost organizational performance.

Identify the areas for improvement

Recognizing where aspects of the organization can be improved is the first step in implementing the 7s McKinsey model. It is important to take a holistic approach and consider how each element of the model interacts with, and affects, all other elements. Of particular importance is identifying which elements have the most potential for improvement and focusing efforts on these areas.

The model highlights seven interdependent elements that need to be considered in order to better understand an organization’s culture and structures. These include Strategy, Structure, Systems, Shared Values, Style, Staff and Skills. Depending on your situation there may be more areas than others that require attention or improvements within these seven elements. Examining these areas allows you to identify the changes that must be made in order to move an organization forwards towards its objectives.

  • Strategy: Evaluate current processes and procedures; Assess competencies and capabilities; Identify risks/weaknesses; Set clear objectives/path forward for success; Monitor performance against previous targets.
  • Structure: Align resources with strategy; Map organizational relationships/boundaries; Review decision-making hierarchy/responsibilities; Analyze current reporting processes; Determine resource requirements/allocations
  • Systems: Standardize processes/software systems; Analyze existing workflow management tools for efficiency gains ; Consider automation options or rework manual practices ; Utilize project tracking tools or software monitoring
  • Shared Values: Connect staff members through core values ; Foster alignment of individual mindsets with organizational goals ; Develop open communication structures between different levels of staff
  • Style: Establish cohesive culture among remote teams ; Establish guidelines on acceptable behavior ; Promote cognitive diversity increases creativity / innovation ; Encourage healthy conflict resolution amongst teams
  • Staff: Assess existing expertise & competencies at every level ; Leverage partnerships & build networks strategically ; Create collaborative spaces among stakeholders through facilitated dialogue sessions
  • Skills: Audit current training programs & onboarding procedures ; Empower employees through life-long learning incentives & digital workshops Document understanding through regular surveys or interviews

Create an action plan

Creating a successful action plan for implementing the McKinsey 7S Model starts with putting together an appropriately sized team that is well-balanced and complement each other’s existing skills. Team members should have passion, knowledge and a desire to affect real change that can be sustained over time.

Once the team is formed, it’s important to review the current culture of the organization. This can be done in a variety of ways such as individual interviews, focus groups or surveys. From there, modifications and processes can be created to enhance surface-level changes if necessary.

At this stage, it’s important to assess employee skill sets and needs as they relate to both short-term and long-term objectives within your organization. Be sure to create training sessions or assign special roles in order to ensure flexibility within teams so you can implement changes when necessary. It’s essential that all organizational departments are part of any major plan, along with regular updates in order for everyone involved to gain full ownership of the newly implemented changes before taking them into production.

Success with this model requires multi-layered support from all levels of your organization, both internal and external stakeholders alike; strategic plans will be more successful if everyone is on board early on in the process as innovative solutions will flow more freely from an empowered environment than from one where employees have negative historical experiences related to this type of concept or change management initiative.

You should also plan out necessary check points throughout your implementation period in order for progress monitoring purposes as well as for validation of objectives set forth at project onset stages in order for any gaps between desired end results and actual effectiveness can be addressed promptly before they derail success altogether.

Implement the plan

Implementing the plan requires careful consideration of each area of the 7s McKinsey Model, and how they interact with each other. The following steps provide a basic guide to implementation:

  1. Define the strategy: Establish key objectives and goals. Identify key performance targets and metrics that will help measure success.
  2. Structure: Create a structure that will support the plan and allow collaboration between different teams or departments.
  3. Systems: Put systems in place to ensure data is collected, tracked, and easily accessible for analysis.
  4. Staff: Invest in recruiting and training staff, as well as implementing programs such as performance reviews to measure progress towards goals.
  5. Shared values: Work on developing shared values throughout the organization which strengthen employee engagement and create an effective culture of collaboration and communication.
  6. Style/Leadership: Determine how decisions will be made and how leadership will be shared between different members of staff or departments within the organization so everyone follows a consistent style of working together towards overall goals.
  7. Skills: Invest in developing existing skillsets through training programs or resources such as workshops, books, webinars etc., in order to improve proficiency at work tasks across all employees in line with your strategy.


In conclusion, the 7s McKinsey framework is a simple and effective tool for organizational analysis. It is from this model that an organization can gain insight into the weaknesses and strengths of an internal structure, and address these areas to increase efficiency and effectiveness.

By understanding the interconnectedness of each area – structure, strategies, systems, shared values, style, staff, and skills – organizations can ensure that all employees are properly aligned toward common goals. Additionally, through proactive measures such as regularly evaluating personnel and procedures in light of organizational objectives and available resources, an organization can continually strive for a well-rounded and organized structure.

By utilizing this tool to its fullest extent through a comprehensive plan based on objective results may lead to greater productivity than anything else possible.