The McKinsey 7S model involves seven interdependent factors which are categorized as either “hard” or “soft” elements:
“Hard” elements are easier to define or identify and management can directly influence them: These are strategy statements; organization charts and reporting lines; and formal processes and IT systems.
“Soft” elements, on the other hand, can be more difficult to describe, and are less tangible and more influenced by culture. However, these soft elements are as important as the hard elements if the organization is going to be successful.
The way the model is presented in Figure 1 below depicts the interdependency of the elements and indicates how a change in one affects all the others.
– Strategy: the plan devised to maintain and build competitive advantage over the competition.
– Structure: the way the organization is structured and who reports to whom.
– Systems: the daily activities and procedures that staff members engage in to get the job done.
– Shared Values: called “superordinate goals” when the model was first developed, these are the core values of the company that are evidenced in the corporate culture and the general work ethic.
– Style: the style of leadership adopted.
– Staff: the employees and their general capabilities.
– Skills: the actual skills and competencies of the employees working for the company.
Placing Shared Values in the middle of the model emphasizes that these values are central to the development of all the other critical elements. The company’s structure, strategy, systems, style, staff and skills all stem from why the organization was originally created, and what it stands for. The original vision of the company was formed from the values of the creators. As the values change, so do all the other elements.