gears

7S Model

Overview

The 7s Model is an organisational analysis tool and it can be used to compare ‘as is‘ with ‘how we want to be‘.

Also known as

  • The 7S Framework
  • McKinsey 7S Framework

The tool

7 circles surrounding a central one with lines joining them together.

The model assumes that there are seven interrelated elements which need to be in alignment for an organisation, team or project to be successful. These elements are described in the following table.

TypeElementsVisibility
Hard
  • Strategy
  • Structure
  • Systems
  • These are visible, tangible and can be directly influenced by management.
 
  • Shared values
  • Skills
  • Staff
  • Style
  • These are more intangible and are influenced by culture.

The placement of Shared Values in the middle of the model emphasises that values are central to the development of all the other elements. However, all elements need to be aligned with each other and to be mutually reinforcing.

Why use it

  • Help assess and monitor changes to the internal workings of an organisation, team or project.
  • Help plan improvements.
  • Examine the impact of future changes
  • Align departments and teams.
  • Determine the most effective way to implement new strategies.

When to use it

How to use it

  1. Look at Shared Values
    • Are they consistent with your Structure, Strategy and Systems?
  2. Look at the Hard Elements (Structure, Strategy and Systems)
    • How well does each one support the others?
    • Where do changes need to be made?
  3. Look at the Soft Elements
    • Do they support the hard elements?
    • Do they support each other?
    • What needs to change?
  4. Use an iterative approach

    As one element is adjusted and realigned, revisit the others to consider the impacts this adjustment will have on them.

Strengths

  • Provides a structure for planning change and for thinking about its consequences.
  • Makes explicit things which are taken for granted and which might otherwise be overlooked.
  • Enables implicit, underlying assumptions to be questioned.
  • Helps identify barriers and enablers to change.
  • Helps plan for change.

Weaknesses

  • Risks associated with using the 7s model arise because, while the model is designed to help raise appropriate questions, it does not provide any answers. Answers can only be supplied by drawing together appropriate knowledge, skills and experience. The model does not, in and of itself, lead to the development of an action plan.

Similar to

This model can be used in similar ways. Superficially they look very similar, however the content and what is seen as being important in the two models is slightly different.

Use in conjunction with

Complemented by

Example(s)

Additional information