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Running a business

Using the McKinsey 7-S Framework in Your Small Business

Are you trying to get your team to work better together? Looking for ways to make your next venture more successful, or are you navigating a merger? If so, the McKinsey 7-S framework may be the answer you’re looking for. This model helps you coordinate the many moving parts of your business so you can achieve goals more efficiently.

What Is the McKinsey 7-S Framework?

The McKinsey 7-S framework is a model that helps you analyze your company’s organization. When you use the framework, you map out all the things that affect your business when it tries to change. This method focuses on seven parts of your business:

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

According to the McKinsey model, you need to coordinate all seven of these elements. If you notice that one or more aren’t aligned with the others, you can make changes to fix the problem so each part of the company can work smoothly together. This method streamlines your operations, reduces waste and delays, and helps you become more successful.

How Does Alignment Work With McKinsey 7-S?

As you work through McKinsey 7-S, your goal is to align the seven key elements. To illustrate how alignment works, take a moment to think about strategy and systems. Strategy is the plan you have for your company; it’s the way you want to go after your goals. Your systems, on the other hand, are the things your employees do each day.

Imagine that you have a new strategy: You want to boost sales by using a sales script. However, when you use the McKinsey 7-S framework to analyze your business, you discover that employees aren’t sticking to the script when they make sales calls. In other words, your strategy and systems are not aligned. To fix the problem, you must make changes to either area. You might rewrite the script so your employees are comfortable with it, i.e., fix the strategy. Alternatively, you could change the systems by making the script mandatory for everyone on staff. These changes get your systems and strategy back into alignment so you can achieve your sales goals.

Once you align the two problem elements, it’s time to look at the remaining five factors. Take a look at structure; within the McKinsey 7-S framework, “”structure”” includes your company’s hierarchy or who reports to whom. Imagine that you require all salespeople to use the script. If your sales team manager doesn’t enforce that rule, your structure is out of alignment. It’s also important to consider the “”staff”” element. If your employees need help using the script effectively, for example, you might hold training sessions to improve alignment. Likewise, you must also make sure that your company’s values and your leadership style are working in harmony with the other elements.

How Can You Apply the McKinsey 7-S Model in Your Business?

Ready to try the McKinsey 7-S in your company? To start, it’s helpful to focus on a single goal you want to achieve, which could be as simple as selling more products or as complicated as merging with another company.

Once you have a goal, you can list each of the seven elements. Then, note how each element is currently working toward the goal. As you analyze each element, you may start to notice problems with alignment. Write them down as you go. Later, you can brainstorm how to align each of the elements. Keep in mind that each part of your business is interconnected. When you make a change in one area, it can affect other elements. It’s normal to require several rounds of changes before all seven factors are coordinated.

If you need help figuring out how different elements align, it can be useful to make a chart of overlapping bubbles instead of a list. This method helps you connect the dots, especially when two elements don’t seem to be related. It’s also helpful to involve your management team or employees; they bring unique ideas and perspectives you might not have considered.

When you’re looking to improve your business, the McKinsey 7-S framework can be a helpful tool. By using the framework to analyze your company, you can make focused, targeted changes that help you achieve goals faster. As you grow, staying on top of your finances can keep you on track. The QuickBooks Self-Employed app helps freelancers, contractors, and sole proprietors track and manage their businesses on the go. Download the app today to see what it can do for you.

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