Trying to get your team to work better together? Looking for ways to make your next venture more successful? Navigating a merger? In these situations and many others, you may want to apply the McKinsey 7-S framework.
What Is the McKinsey 7-S Framework?
The McKinsey 7-S framework refers to an organizational model that Tom Peters and Robert Waterman created in the late 1970s and early 1980s. For over 30 years, this framework has helped businesses identify what they need to change to be successful. The McKinsey 7-S framework hones in on how seven elements interact within each organization.
This framework’s seven elements are:
- Shared values
Based on the McKinsey model, if these elements are not properly aligned, the organization, team, or project won’t be as successful as it could be. In contrast, when you align these elements, success comes a lot more readily.
How Does Alignment Work With McKinsey S-7?
To illustrate how alignment works, take the elements of strategy and systems. Strategy refers to a business’s plan, while systems refers to the daily activities of the business’s employees. Imagine that a business’s plan is to increase sales by using a set sales script. But, in practice, the "systems" are not supporting this strategy because the employees aren’t sticking to the script. In this situation, the systems need to be adjusted so the business can achieve the goals outlined in the strategy.
After this beginning, you also have to take into account the other five elements. Within the McKinsey S-7 framework, "structure" refers in part to who reports to whom. In the above situation, assume the person managing the sales staff doesn’t care much about that set sales script. It’s unlikely in this case that they will enforce use of the sales script.
Another consideration is your staff’s skills. If they don’t have the skills to properly use the script, you may need to do more training or hire new employees. Similarly, you also have to ensure that the company’s values and your style of leadership also work with these other elements.
How Can You Apply McKinsey 7-S in Your Business?
The above example is a basic illustration of how this framework functions. To use the McKinsey 7-S framework in your business, you should start by identifying a goal. That could be anything from selling more widgets to successfully merging two companies together. Then, you should list the seven elements and note how each element is currently manifesting itself in your business. From there, you should make a list of potential changes to bring the elements into alignment.
To help you visualize the alignment aspect, you may want to make a chart of interconnecting or overlapping bubbles, rather than a list. You should also get your core management team or even your employees involved. They may have unique ideas or perspectives.
Running a business is extremely challenging, but luckily, many people have travelled this road before you, and they have all kinds of tools and frameworks that you can use. Try the McKinsey 7-S framework in your business to find a way to align the seven key elements that help businesses to thrive through changes.