The World of Work Project

The McKinsey 7 S Model

The McKinsey 7S model details three hard organizational factors (Systems, Structure and Strategy) and four soft organizational factors (Shared Values, Skills, Staff and Style) that are all interconnected as a system and which collectively affect organizational performance.

Summary by The World of Work Project

The McKinsey 7 S Framework

The McKinsey 7 S model is a classic framework through which to consider organizational change. It highlights seven different factors, all beginning with the letter S, that should be considered when any organizational change is being planned.

The model is excellent in two primary ways. Firstly, it clearly draws out the importance of the human side of change. Secondly, it links each factor to all of the other factors,  which helps to bring to life their complexity and inter-relatedness.

We just need another 6…

While this model is very simple, it’s one that organizational change practitioners should be aware of. They should also be aware of the key message that underlies the model.

That message is that you must remember that every factor you seek to change in an organization in turn affects all the other factors of that organization.

What this means is that whatever you’re planning on changing directly, you also need to plan for the knock on effects of that direct change on all other areas of the organization, if you are to lead an effective change program.

The World of Work Project View

We think organizational change is a fascinating and hugely important concept and activity.

Organizations spend nearly all their time changing, so organizational change is always taking place. In some ways organizational change is really just another way to think about organizational leadership.

There are many models of change that we look at elsewhere, but they key point that we’re interested in here is the distinction between people related change and other forms of change. In our view, the people side of organizational change is the essence of organizational leadership and a key skill for all leaders to work on.

Sources and further reading

Where possible we always recommend that people read up on the original sources of information and ideas.

The contents of this post have been based on the work of Thomas J. Peters and Robert H. Waterman which they published in a book called “In Search of Excellence“.

McKinsey also have included the 7S model in their Enduring Ideas series, and you can see their writings and listen to their thoughts on the model here.


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