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McKinsey 7S framework

McKinsey 7S framework

McKinsey 7S Framework

How do you ensure your company is in a position to step up its performance? Management gurus have wrestled with this question for decades. Models of organisational effectiveness have ebbed in and out of fashion, but the one that has endured the test of time is the McKinsey 7S framework. The 7S framework was developed in the late 1970’s by two McKinsey consultants, Tom Peters and Robert Waterman of ‘In Search of Excellence’ fame.

When seeking to increase corporate performance, the conventional approach, then and now, is to change the strategy and reorganise. After a transitional period, the dust settles and the desired step up in performance more frequently than not remains a desire.

After several years of research, Peters and Waterman concluded that there are seven interdependent ‘hunks of complexity’ to actively consider, not just two. The 7S’s are:

  • Strategy: The key strategic trusts that build sustainable competitive advantage and create value.
  • Structure: The way the organisation is structured including the reporting lines.
  • Systems: The business processes and procedures.
  • Staff: the number and allocation of employees between the various constituent parts of the organisation
  • Skills: The capabilities and competencies of the employees within the constituent parts of the organisation.
  • Style: The management style of leadership adopted.
  • Shared values: The core values that constitute the corporate culture.

The first three are known as the hard S’s and the latter four as the soft S’s.

When applying the McKinsey 7S framework, it is helpful to compare where an organisation is at with where it desires to get to. Action plans for each of the 7S’s can then be developed to bridge the gap. All 7S’s need to considered and crucially aligned.

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