The McKinsey 7S Framework

Video Transcript

Learn how to use the 7S Framework, with James Manktelow & Amy Carlson.

James Manktelow: Hello. I'm James Manktelow, CEO of, home to hundreds of free career-boosting tools and resources.

Amy Carlson: And I'm Amy Carlson from Mind Tools.

If you've ever had to implement change in your organization, then you know how difficult this can be.

It can seem as if there are a thousand things to consider and, if even one thing is overlooked, everything can come crashing to the ground.

JM: Tom Peters and Robert Waterman, of the consulting firm McKinsey and Company, developed the McKinsey 7S Framework to help solve this problem.

They say that there are seven elements within an organization that must be aligned for that organization to be successful. These elements must also be consistent when you're trying to implement any kind of change.

AC: The seven elements are divided into two categories, hard and soft.

The three hard elements are strategy, structure, and systems.

The four soft elements are shared values, skills, style, and staff.

As you can see, shared values form the center of the framework. This is because your organization's shared values determine how your people behave in the workplace.

But all of these elements are inter-dependent.

Changing one will change them all. And, neglecting one will affect all of the others.

JM: Let's look at each of these elements in a bit more detail.

First, your strategy determines how you're going to beat your competitors, and succeed in your mission.

Then comes your organization's structure – this is your hierarchy or organizational chart.

And, your systems are the resources and procedures that your people use to do their work.

AC: Softer elements are a bit harder to define. But, they're just as important.

Again, your organization's shared values determine the way that you work, and the way that you solve problems.

Style represents the style of leadership that's adopted in the organization.

Staff represents your employees, and their capabilities.

Finally, skills are the actual skills and competencies of all of the employees in the organization.

JM: There are a few different ways that you can use the McKinsey 7S Framework.

First, you can use it to help spot what you need to do to improve the performance of your organization.

For instance, if you know something isn't working in your organization, but you're not quite sure what, you can use the framework to help you find any issues.

The framework is also really useful when you're planning for change in your organization.

You can use it to identify where your organization is right now with each of these elements, and to think about how they might be affected by the proposed change.

This can help you make adjustments ahead of time.

AC: When you start going through each element, there are plenty of questions that you can ask to better understand each one.

For instance, if you were to look at your strategy, you'd ask yourself:

What is your strategy?

How is your organization going to achieve its goals?

How are you going to deal with your competitors?

Analyzing the answers to these questions will help you better understand your strategy, and its impact on the organization. And, there are vital questions that go along with each of the seven elements.

JM: The McKinsey 7S Framework is a model that helps you identify what's not working in your organization. This helps you realign all of the necessary elements so that you can become more effective.

The model is also really useful when you're going through organizational change.

You can find out more about using the McKinsey 7S Framework in the article that accompanies this video.

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Comments (19)
  • Over a month ago Dianna wrote
    Excellent idea! I hope it goes well. We would really love to hear how it works and any modifications you make or would make for next time.

    I'm not sure what the purpose of the reorganization is, but this article on rationalizing team activities might also be relevant.

  • Over a month ago jae08y wrote
    Great article, thanks for sharing. I'm thinking of using this as a precursor to a possible team reorganisation so the checklist and worksheet should come in handy. I will let you know how that goes.
  • Over a month ago Dianna wrote
    Hi mbreilly,

    To follow a thread you can open it up and then click "subscribe topic" in the upper left corner of the first post. It's in small blue writing. Alternatively you can reply to the last post (it doesn't matter what you say) and then you will be automatically notified if/when someone posts a follow-up. And you will be able to find it back by clicking on the "manage subscriptions and bookmarks" link (just below the line that has FAQ, Forum Search, Memberlist, Profile, and Messages).

    As for using the frameworks there are step by step instructions in the free ebook: and the Starbucks example provides an idea of what a completed copy looks like. As well the tool we have provides a checklist of questions to use as you go through the seven elements. This is the video that introduces the tool:

    Hope this helps. Let me know if you need more information.

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