What is it?
The McKinsey 7-S framework was developed by Tom Peters and Robert Waterman at McKinsey & Company. It argues that organisational effectiveness involves more than simply putting in place the right command and control structure to coordinate the delivery of an organisation’s strategy. Instead, the framework maps a constellation of seven interacting factors that are key to helping people function effectively together, in order to achieve a high performance organisation.
What each element means:
Also referred to as culture, this represents the way things are done and, particularly, the way the leadership team conducts itself in the organisation. The leadership’s style will influence how the rest of the employees behave. Therefore, if the leadership visibly embraces, champions and demonstrates cost transformation and management, then people around the organisation will typically follow.
Refers to the skills needed to deliver the cost transformation and management strategy. Having the right skills to deliver the strategy is vital and skills gaps can pose a risk to achieving cost competitiveness objectives.
These are the activities, processes and procedures that people engage in to do their work. It also includes software systems, which are increasingly automating activities, processes and procedures.
The hierarchy of control exercised through delegated responsibility. The structure should be as simple as possible to help people understand who is accountable for specific results.
This includes the inherent talents of the organisation’s people, the number of staff and the diversity needed in each area to optimise organisational capability and capacity.
Organisations need to compete in volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous environments. So, strategy needs to respond to this with agility. Organisations must constantly adapt to strategies to succeed.
These encapsulate the organisation’s purpose or its societal mandate. The organisation’s purpose tends to remain a fundamental constant over time and this purpose shapes the organisation’s values.
Having shared values at the centre of the constellation emphasises that it is the core values of the organisation, aligned to the organisation’s purpose, that shape the remaining elements.
What benefits does McKinsey 7-S provide?
Perhaps strategy is changing and execution requires new delivery platforms. McKinsey’s 7-S framework provides a useful approach to organisational design, specifically for:
Facilitating organisational change
Aligning the organisation to new strategy
Aiding the merger or acquisition of organisations
Improving the performance of a company
Modelling the likely effects of future changes within a company.
Implementing McKinsey 7-S? Questions to consider:
Is there senior support to review the organisation’s design?
Are the seven elements of the framework aligned with each other?
What is the best organisational design to support the objectives?
What needs to change to achieve the best organisational design?
Do you have the necessary resources to bring about the changes identified?