• April 30, 2017

Journey to Organizational Change: Adopting the Mckinsey 7-S Framework


One the key tools we have realy used at the consulting level when deploying solutions to our clients is the Mckinsey 7-s framework. Recently, two of our young consultants were working closely with a client in Accra Ghana. Helping the FMCG company look into adopting change at every level for the purpose of improving performance and business competence to expand its market share. Our approach was to first create a diagnostics for the company using the popular 7-S framework. Using this approach helped us look through the usually ignored components of business coordination as it looked beyond structure and focused on effectiveness.

The McKinsey 7-S model is one that can be applied to almost any organizational or team effectiveness issue. If something within your organization or team isn’t working, chances are there is an inconsistency between some of the elements identified by this classic model. Once these inconsistencies are revealed, you can work to align the internal elements to make sure they are all contributing to the shared goals and values.

The process of analyzing where you are right now in terms of these elements is worthwhile in and of itself. But by taking this analysis to the next level and determining the ultimate state for each of the factors, you can really move your organization or team forward.


Analyzing how well you are positioned to achieve your business objectives.

Many CEOs want answers this question. Business leaders are often plagued with understanding their business status and also how to improve. Sometimes, many company desire some critical change- and these questions are best answered by taking a critical look at every internal and external factor playing in the business. Our argument as a company is that the solution methodology needs to be simple enough to penetrate every hidden part of an enterprise. Some approaches look at internal factors, others look at external ones, some combine these perspectives, and others look for congruence between various aspects of the organization being studied. Ultimately, the issue comes down to which factors to study.

While some models of organizational effectiveness go in and out of fashion, one that has persisted is the McKinsey 7-S framework. Developed in the early 1980s by Tom Peters and Robert Waterman, two consultants working at the McKinsey & Company consulting firm, the basic premise of the model is that there are seven internal aspects of an organization that needs to be aligned if it is to be successful.

PM Hub has used this 7-S model in a wide variety of situations where an alignment perspective is useful, for example, to help us:

  1. Improve the performance of a company.
  2. Examine the likely effects of future changes within a company.
  3. Align departments and processes during a merger or acquisition.
  4. Determine how best to implement a proposed strategy.

The McKinsey 7-S model can be applied to elements of a team or a project as well. The alignment issues apply, regardless of how you decide to define the scope of the areas you study.

The Seven Elements

The McKinsey 7-S model involves seven interdependent factors which are categorized as either “hard” or “soft” elements:

“Hard” elements are easier to understand, define or identify and they can be easily influenced by the management. They include the following: organization charts, reporting line, strategy documents, formal processes, HR policies etc, MIS etc.

While “Soft” elements, on the other hand, can be more difficult to describe, and are less tangible and more influenced by culture. Yet, the soft elements are as useful as the hard elements if the organization is going to be considered healthy and aligned.



Join us as we explore more on what has been done with this tool in the second part of this thought-leadership


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