IAF Methods

7S Framework

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Using McKinsey's 7-S Question Matrix, developed by Mindtools.com, to analyse an organisation's effectiveness. 

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This method can be used to improve the performance of an organisation. It helps to consider future effects of organisational transformation, to improve interdepartmental cooperation and to gain a perspective on implementing organisational changes.
This method can also be used in smaller teams or project work environments.


You will be able to upload attachments once after you create the method.


  • Pinboards, markers, the 7S Question Matrix from Mindtools https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newSTR_91.htm



Materials: Pinboards, markers, the 7S Question Matrix, developed by Mindtools.com

Type of Facilitator-Client Relationship: The facilitator accompanies the group through introducing the 7S tool, and using it to evaluate and reflect on the organisation.

Knowledge of the tool: 

Before applying the model, the facilitator needs to understand the 7S framework of asking questions regarding a group's or organisation's effectiveness. The 7S are seven interdependent factors within a group or an organisation.

McKinsey distinguishes between hard and soft elements. Hard elements are tangible and can be directly influenced, while soft elements are less tangible and consist mostly of shared culture in the group. To learn more about this framework and to download the template look up the following page:


Hard Elements:

  • Strategy: the organisation's or group's strategy
  • Structure: report structure and organisational structure
  • Systems: work procedures of people involved

Soft Elements

  • Shared Values: core values of the company, as part of corporate culture and work ethic
  • Skills: actual skills and competencies of members
  • Style: the leadership style within the group or organisation
  • Staff: what employees or group members are generally capable of

The interdependence of these elements (see the picture on the website), centralises the shared values. McKinsey?s 7S method assumes that by changing the core values of an organisation and considering the elements aligned to the core values, organisational transformation can be accomplished successfully.


The Seven Elements

Before applying the model, the facilitator first explains the concept of the 7S as explained above:  Strategy, Structure, and Systems; and Shared Values, Skills, Style, and Staff.


Now the 7S can be used to identify gaps and inconsistencies between the seven elements of an organisation. Once these gaps and inconsistencies are identified, the organisation can attempt to tackle its issues. For this purpose, the following checklist can be used. If organisational change is the goal of the workshop, both the current situation and the desired state should be considered, thus the checklist needs to be applied twice.

7-S Question Checklist


  • What is the strategy?
  • How to achieve objectives?
  • How to deal with competition?
  • How to include environmental issues?


  • How is the company/team/organisation divided?
  • What is the hierarchy?
  • How do the departments coordinate activities?
  • How do the team members organize themselves?
  • Is decision making and controlling centralized or decentralized? Should this be done differently?


  • What are controlling elements and how are they monitored and evaluated?
  • What internal rules and processes are part of the team activities?

Shared Values:

  • What are the organisation?s core values?
  • What is the corporate or team culture?
  • How strong are these values?
  • Based on which values was the company founded?


  • Does leadership or management encourage participation?
  • Is the current leadership style effective?
  • Are employees cooperative or competitive?
  • Does the organisation consist of real teams or just nominal groups?


  • What positions or specialised functions exist in the organisation?
  • Which positions need to be filled?
  • Is there a need for additional competencies?


  • What are the strongest skills of the members?
  • Is there a lack of certain skills?
  • What do people do well?
  • Are members or employees trained to do the job?

Of course it is possible to add further questions to the respective categories, based on the needs and intention of an organisation.

7-S matrix questions

Now that the different elements have been considered, the 7S matrix question sheet, developed by Mindtools.com, can be used to uncover inconsistencies and to improve the alignment between the organisational elements. This is done in the following order:

1. Evaluate the shared values. Are these values consistent with the organisational structure and systems? What needs to be changed in order to improve organisational matters?

2. Consider the hard elements. Do these elements support each other? Which elements need to be adapted or changed?

3. Reflect on the soft elements. Do they work supportive for the desired hard elements? Do they work supportive for each other? What needs to be changed?


Usual or Expected Outcomes: The perspective on current constellation and features of a group or an organisation gained through this exercise can be used for implementing changes or aligning elements of cooperation.


Source: McKinsey

Alternative names: McKinsey 7S Framework

Comments (1) ( 3.0  avg / 1 ratings)

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  • Requires significant preparation in knowledge of the tool in order to guide the group in the session. It could lead to some new perspectives on organizational challenges.

    over 3 years ago