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Tool: McKinsey 7S

Typical use (type of issue/project)

For evaluating strategies to improve the performance of a company and to examine the likely effects of future changes within a company.

Ease of use rating

Used by

Yourself and your team.

Tips for effective use

Use the 7S model to help analyse your current situation and your ideal situation, and to identify gaps and inconsistencies between them. It’s then a question of adjusting and tuning the elements of the 7S model to ensure that your organisation works effectively and well once you reach the desired endpoint

Signals of successful use

When new strategies are being implemented, these seven elements should be examined and coordinated. All elements should work together.

Signals of unsuccessful use

Something within your organisation or team isn’t working. This will usually imply that there is inconsistency between some of the elements identified by the McKinsey 7S.

Links to other tools

SWOT, Brainstorming, Forcefield analysis, and Nominal group technique.


McKinsey 7S

  • Shared value

The interconnecting centre. What does the organisation stands for and what it believes in. Central beliefs and attitudes.

  • Strategy

Plans for the allocation of a firms scarce resources, over time, to reach identified goals. Environment, competition, customers.

  • Structure

The way the organisation’s units relate to each other: centralised, functional divisions (top-down); decentralised (the trend in larger organisations); matrix, network, holding, and so.

  • System

The procedures, processes and routines that characterise how important work is to be done: financial systems; hiring, promotion and performance appraisal systems; information systems.

  • Staff

Numbers and types of personnel within the organisation.

  • Style

Cultural style of the organisation and how key managers behave in achieving the organisation’s goals.

  • Skill

Distinctive capabilities of personnel or of the organization as a whole.

The McKinsey 7S involves ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ elements:

  • Hard elements are easier to define: strategy, structure, systems
  • Soft elements are less tangible: staff, skills, shared values and style.

Think about what these seven components would look like in our ‘ideal organisation’.

How can we get there?