The McKinsey 7s Framework


Do you need to get a better handle on organizational structure? Are you trying to figure out how to effectively organize your business? If so, the McKinsey 7s Framework can be a powerful tool for making sure all the pieces of your organization come together!

Let’s explore how this framework can help bring efficiency and clarity to the workplace:

Introduction to the McKinsey 7s Framework

The McKinsey 7s framework is a strategic management tool developed by consulting firm McKinsey & Company to help organizations understand how their business functions are linked and how they can be aligned to improve organizational performance. The 7s model was first published in “The Art of Japanese Management” by Richard Pascale and Anthony Athos in 1981. It is made up of seven interdependent elements: strategy, structure, systems, shared values, style, staff and skills.

The 7s framework can be used to assess the current state of an organization or as a tool for implementing change. It provides an integrated approach for analyzing the whole picture, from the external environment through to internal processes. It helps to identify gaps between the ideal structure (i.e., what the organization aims for) and current state of each element in order to focus resources on priority areas. Through its integration approach, the 7s framework ensures that any changes are consistent across multiple aspects of an organization’s operations.

When used correctly, this model can help organizations improve their effectiveness by ensuring that all elements are operating in alignment with each other to reach shared objectives. The effectiveness will depend on how well connected each component is with the others – such as how clear and meaningful shared values link with actions taken by employees every day; or how policies are embedded into ongoing processes and routines within a specific structure.

The 7 Components of the McKinsey 7s Framework

The McKinsey 7s Framework is a management tool developed by the consulting firm McKinsey & Company to help organizations analyze and imporve their overall performance. The model comprises seven internal elements of an organization, all of which must be aligned and mutually reinforcing in order for it to be successful. These elements are: structure, strategy, systems, shared values, skills and staff, style and superordinate goals.

  • Structure – This involves having the right number of people in each department with appropriate levels of authority and a variety of project teams with suitable skillsets that can be flexibly deployed across the whole organization. An effective structure should promote collaboration between both internal departments and external suppliers or partners; recognize that ownership plays an important role in motivation; and embrace complexity while minimising bureaucracy.
  • Strategy – A well-defined strategic vision circulating throughout an organization helps ensure everyone understands and shares the overall direction in which it is heading. Strategies need to be purposeful but also dynamic enough to drive change when needed.
  • Systems – From communication channels through to data management, every part of an organization needs robust systems that are regularly updated to ensure security; accuracy; consistency; efficiency; shareability; flexibility for change over time and integration with other parts of the structure where necessary. Systems should ensure all members have access to resources they need, as well as promoting cooperation among teams.
  • Shared Values – Organizational values indicate what people value most when working together – professionalism; customer service or trustworthiness – whatever they may be shared values should permeate throughout operational processes and how people interact with one another. It’s sometimes referred to as organizational culture or climate – a common ethos among team members who are accountable for everybody’s success., not just their own areas.
  • Skills & Staff – There must be enough skilled personnel within departments so core tasks can still continue if someone leaves unexpectedly or requires back up during periods of peak demand.. Clear job descriptions help people understand their respective responsibilities while supplemental training courses offer staff opportunities for learning new skills.
  • Style – Style refers more broadly to leadership behaviour – not only about how senior managers conduct themselves but how decisions are made at operational level too. Do leaders let departments take calculated risks? Or do they insist on template-like processes regardless? Do workers feel empowered make decisions? Authentic trustworthy leadership boosts morale through greater engagement.
  • Superordinate Goals – Superordinate goals focus on longer term objectives alongside day-to-day operations – commitments towards CSR, embracing innovation, setting clear targets like market share – ensuring employees focus on outputs rather than inputs ranging from financial performance for customer satisfaction. All these aspects require cohesive planning, consistent communication benchmarking progress against industry rivals.

Strategies for Effective Implementation of the Framework

A successful implementation of the McKinsey 7s Framework requires an organization to adhere to specific strategies. Companies should strive to identify and address both the surface issues (the seven elements, or “7s”), and the deeper issues that often lie beneath, such as company culture. Failing to consider these factors can make implementation difficult or even impossible.

Strategies for effective implementation of the McKinsey 7s Framework include:

  • Careful evaluation of all components; each element depends on another for long-term sustainability
  • Crafting a comprehensive strategy based on identified problems and desired outcomes
  • Development of a detailed road map outlining how the company intends to implement processes, standards and practices
  • Consideration of cultural norms in order to better understand how each component fits into place in terms of decision making, problem solving, etc.
  • Rigorous communication with teams in order to stay on top of progress throughout the duration of implementation
  • Implementation monitoring, feedback loop processes and evaluations at key stages throughout the project cycle
  • Focus on organizational alignment as well as individual behavior changes when trying to keep employees accountable during implementation

Benefits of the McKinsey 7s Framework

The McKinsey 7s Framework is a management tool designed to help organizations manage change and implement successful strategy. It provides an in-depth analysis of a company’s internal workings and how they impact the success of the company’s overall strategy. The seven elements of the framework are structure, strategy, systems, shared values, staff, skills and style.

The benefits of using this model are that it helps companies identify both strengths and weaknesses within their organization. By analyzing all aspects of their operations, companies can better understand how to develop and execute successful strategies for future growth. Structural components such as organizational structure can be evaluated to improve efficiency and avoid common obstacles that might prevent effectiveness at achieving goals. The framework also allows managers to identify problems with strategy or tactics before they become issues.

Organizational culture is another key aspect examined with this model, as shared values and styles create unique environments within companies that must be addressed in order for them to operate optimally. Furthermore, the communication within an organization helps staff members identify their roles clearly while clarifying objectives necessary for accomplishing tasks efficiently. Finally, by evaluating individual staff members’ skillsets against specific job requirements or responsibilities helps determine who is best suited for certain positions while avoiding potential roadblocks brought on by capability gaps or misalignment between roles/responsibilities and skillsets.

Challenges in Implementing the McKinsey 7s Framework

The McKinsey 7s Framework is a method for analyzing and understanding an organization’s internal structure in order to better manage its operations. By making different elements of the organization fit together, businesses can increase their overall effectiveness and position themselves for success. However, while the model is easy to understand, it can be challenging to implement.

In order to make the most of this framework there are a few key issues which must be addressed. The first issue is that of organizational culture: for the framework to work effectively, all departments within the organization must embrace it and work towards common goals. Without alignment on these goals it won’t be possible for businesses to create the desired results from employing this method. Additionally, having clear communication channels between teams and departments can help ensure everyone is informed on objectives enabling everyone to have an equal share in contributing ideas and solidifying successful implementation.

Another challenge in implementation of McKinsey’s 7S Framework lies in making sure that changes don’t continuously shift its strategy or objectives over time unless necessary as sudden changes can confuse employees who may be unfamiliar with their new roles or responsibilities as well as hamper morale due to lack of clarity on what their role entails going forward. To counter this organizations should establish a process by which they monitor performance goals and objectives regularly so that any necessary changes due to changing circumstances can be managed without disrupting progress made thus far with minimal-interference into employees daily routine or responsibility intrinsic performance base expectations.

Finally firms implementing McKinsey 7s Framework should also ensure proper training and development procedures are in place prior beginning implementation as both experienced staff will require guidance surrounding how operate within new organizational structure while newcomers need receive basic onboarding related information relevant their respective job functions. This helps optimize each individual’s performance output ensuring maximum benefit from invested time effort within completing projects milestones assigned them relevantly associated activities.

Examples of Organizations Using the McKinsey 7s Framework

The McKinsey 7s Framework is a model designed to help organizations gain insight into their internal operations, allowing them to better understand how their components work together. The framework outlines seven elements, or factors, that must align in order for an organization to achieve success. The elements of the framework include Strategy, Structure, Systems, Shared Values, Style, Staff, and Skills.

Below are some examples of organizations that are using the McKinsey 7s Framework:

  • Apple Inc.: The technology giant Apple Inc. has used McKinsey 7s Framework to analyze its organizational situations and identify areas of improvement. Apple focuses on strategy as the driving force that guides the other 6 elements within the framework. It places strong emphasis on unified values and shared values that are consistently woven throughout its organizational structure.
  • Google: Google has adopted the McKinsey 7s Framwork as part of its development process and applies it with great success to optimize performance throughout its global organization. Our research shows Google aligns each element in line with its goals achieving a successful synergy between all components within their business structure; such as systems for innovation empowering the staff expertise which works well inline with company style and strategy.
  • Amazon: Online retail giant Amazon leverages this management model to ensure alignment between its business strategies and initiatives. This ensures each element will be successful when stretched across multiple internal departments allowing Amazon’s corporate strategies to be effectively implemented while iterating plans to realign where necessary should any changes occur externally or internally ensuring a successful end user outcome based on customer feedback gathered through digital analytics platforms.

Alternatives to the McKinsey 7s Framework

The McKinsey 7s Framework is an extensively used organizational model designed to help businesses analyze and improve their structure. While the McKinsey 7s Framework is considered a valuable tool for strengthening internal processes, there are a few alternatives that can be used in place of or in combination with this framework.

The Balanced Scorecard is another organizational model that assesses the performance of several different perspectives simultaneously, including customer perspective, internal business processes, learning and growth perspectives, and financial perspectives. Similar to the McKinsey 7s Framework, the key idea behind the Balanced Scorecard requires organizations to take into consideration all aspects of their operations when evaluating performance and making improvement plans.

The EFQM Excellence Model focuses on strategic initiatives by connecting them to nine different criteria. The criteria include leadership; policy and strategy; people; partnerships; resources; processes; results; customers; and society. Similarly to both the McKinsey 7s Framework and Balanced Scorecard models, organizations must take all components into account when making changes in order to achieve peak efficiency.

Alternatively, organizations may opt for a SWOT Analysis – which stands for Strengths, Weaknesses Opportunities and Threats – as a way to understand their competitive standing among other businesses within the same industry. This model helps define any competitive advantages that an organization may have over others as well as its weak points based on four categories: internal strengths and weaknesses compared with external opportunities or threats brought on by competitors or other factors outside of organizational control.


The McKinsey 7s Framework offers an effective tool for analysing the internal organisational factors of a company. A straightforward method for structuring thinking, it works as an excellent tool for exploring how different elements of an organisation are related to each other, as well as gaining insights into where attention or focus may be required.

A successful change programme can be achieved when all seven of the elements within the framework are aligned and working together in harmony. By understanding how all the elements interact, or ‘aligning’ them effectively, organisations can strive to maintain a secure and sustainable future. Ultimately, changes made within one factor can have a ripple effect that influences other aspects of the organisation; it is with this in mind that companies must continually strive to effectively integrate different elements across their strategies.

With changes in external environments frequently forcing organisations to adjust their plans and objectives, there is always scope for reconsideration when managing such variables – The McKinsey 7s Framework can assist with this endeavour.