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How to apply the McKinsey 7S model in Life and Business

Apply the McKinsey 7S model for Life and Business

When do you feel there needs to be a bit more “private life” in business and a bit more “business life” in private lives? Have you left your clean desk at work to jump into a car with a messy glove compartment or arrived at home where things are not “exactly” where they ought to be? Well the same happens at work where efficiency and effectiveness sometimes lacks a personal touch.

Transitions and transformation requires continued effort and momentum

Transitions and transformation requires continued effort and momentum

Key elements for the reader of this article is 4 fold.

  1. To explain the McKinsey 7S management model.
  2. Provide an overview of each S element.
  3. Provide an example of how these steps can support a change management process such as a business intelligence implementation project.
  4. Show how some business models can be applied to day to day life.
The McKinsey 7S model

The McKinsey 7S model

How to define the McKinsey 7S model

The model was introduced in the 1980’s by Robert Waterman and Tom Peters. It has been used for change management, key reference pointers in mergers and acquisition management and a beacon of excellence within the business environment.

The center of this model is the main goals and shared values. This matters greatly within the interactions from each segment. With no common shared value points identified, referred and utilized within the business or personal life area, there is the risk that each other area becomes a silo and may break away.

Ideals, Values and Goals at the same table.

Ideals, Values and Goals at the same table.

Share Values – Goals

If you walk into an Ikea store or Honda factory it becomes rapidly apparent that the values from the business is shared, educated and represented at each location from New York to Paris to any location in Asia. The strength of replicated values is the cornerstone and core for many companies continued success.

Private Life:

What are the core values and goal you set for yourself? This should operate as the guide and steering rudder as you progress on life’s journey. If you have no clear goal/value then you may go through life without living it to your full potential for yourself and others you interact with.

Business Intelligence Project:

Define the “rules of engagement” for the project and it’s goal. This needs to be clear and understandable by all stakeholders in the business and engaged within the project. Having a clear goal and vision for your business intelligence project sets a clear common focus and purpose for engagement.

Strategy game

Strategy

Long term goals and values and best achieved through understanding the overall strategy. This is important so when challenges occur there remains a guiding process to help overcome hurdles seen during the planning process or at least a potential system to deal with tactical challenges.

Private Life:

Have you shared and written down the process you are going to take to make your goal and values come true and fulfilled? Weekends and vacation times are great for allowing one to plan and start a fresh perspective. I often advise to take a couple of vacations or weekends before concluding a full personal strategy. This step allows you time to reflect, plan and most importantly create some clear actionable steps to complete your life’s mission.

Business Intelligence Project:

Every business needs to understand the resources required, timing, expectations and phase of completion in a project. Having a detailed strategy provides the tool to help measure, manage and communicate progress to complete your business intelligence goal. This could involve a phase or “big bang” approach to roll out of a new system and reporting structure.

Mastery from skills, determination, practice and learning

Mastery from skills, determination, practice and learning

Skills

Not to be confused with will, skill is the specific talents required to make each step happen. The recognition of skills, verification and outsourcing of skills has never been more important as it is today when dealing with a knowledge based economy. Beware the blindness of will over skill!

Private Life:

For the people that each year write “loose weight” on their New Years resolution list, they soon find that some skills are needed to achieve it. The fact that most people give up their weight loss plans within the first few weeks often goes back to their skills in handling the task. If they understood that time and patience is required for sustainable change then the skills can develop over time as opposed expecting to run a marathon after no vigorous exercise from a 5 year break!

Business Intelligence Project:

The skills required to run a business intelligence project are different than the skills needed to run the actual business intelligence system. Therefore it can be slightly counter intuitive that the first thing a BI implementation team needs to do is learn some basic project management skills instead of learning the new reports system software. To develop a plan to identify the skills required for each step is an integral function to a successful BI roll out.

Strucutring

Structure

Every society has some form of structure. These structures often change in time through peaceful and sometimes less peaceful methods. There is a human need for structure, be it commanded from the day light hours provided by the sun, eating only when hungry or at certain times or rigid rules and regulations with social forms of complex etiquette.

Private Life:

Structure in our personal lives can be rigid or flexible when compared from one person to the next. This also applies within a family unit where a young child’s life may seem perfectly structured and yet a teenager, well less so! On a personal note, I am more structured in the winter months due to the weather in Denmark. During the summer months I allow more “freedom” into my days to make the most if the warmer climate conditions. These personal changes are still within broader boundaries and conditions with expectations I set upon myself. How about you?

Business Intelligence Project:

Roles and responsibilities, time and budget resources plus priority of tasks and challenges all link to provide the structure of a business intelligence project. Best practice models can be adopted and changed to match the actual unique culture and talents of the stakeholders and business involved. A framework structure for a BI project is important so adjustments can be made if needed but also used as a communication tool for all those involved to include metrics, management and expectations.

Style scooter

Style

I was very impressed with McKinsey to include this element in their management system. I view this as possibly the most under deployed element of their system and yet possibly the most important. My description of Style is the ambiance of culture. It applies to the manner in which your values and goals are represented. Style represents the manner in which things are done and its consistency is possibly the hardest challenge of all, yet if done correctly, you find yourself having an “Apple, BMW, McDonalds, TGIF” user experience.

Private Life:

The way we approach elements in life often changes in time however when centrally guided and referenced to our values and goal, the changes can be understood and even encouraged. There may be the need to change the style and approach to achieve your aim. I remain most inspired by the para athlete Lonnie Bissonnette who still BASE jumps even in his wheel chair, his “style” has needed to change yet the goal has remained.

Business Intelligence Project:

There is a long list of business intelligence project that have failed across business and many will find the graveyard of these projects that the “style” or “method” of implementation was it’s death. There is the need not to be too instructive, take heed of empathy with employees when undergoing such a change management process. To adapt a fully engaged and positive style that reflects the values and goals of the business will deliver a smoother project to success.

System

Systems

Written procedures and software automation all include elements of systems. We gain our connection to the internet through a complex system of electronic devices, society organizes itself in various systems. The effectiveness of each system and it’s efficiency may be varied and improved should the desire, needs and resource be available.

Private Life:

Most families appreciate the education and health systems provided, logistical systems to transport people or goods from one place to another. However personal systems are also important to maintain and support the central values and goals. This may be a system of personal support to a loved one or an accountability support system to guide or even a regular regime of joining a health club and showing up each week to exercise. Developing these systems to match capabilities and the goals is important, relevant and in today’s world maybe never easier to make a good personal choice.

Business Intelligence Project:

Consistency is helped through the correct use of effective systems. Before embarking on a BI project I encourage you to review the systems in place to handle, deal and cope with the project being implemented and the consequences of its actions. There is often as much of a need for system review as a system replacement! To attempt both at the same time without clear purpose and intent will only bring new “challenges”. The best practice approach is to review the systems, map the potential future systems needed and then build the BI project on that conclusion of a positive future state. Performance systems are amongst the most important elements to get right, keep right and perform right.

Happy people

Staff

The future of the 7S model may have a limited timeline. It is best to read today the Staff element not only as the direct employees but also the broader supply base employees and in future the technology that will replace some staff members. Correct implementation of Artificial technology and the changes we start to see within big data and the internet of things is making some of the original points within this section of the model less relevant and shifting to values and system. No doubt Mc Kinsey and Co can provide some equal arguments against this view however it is important to recognize the phase of change we are now seeing.

Private Life:

Relationships with friends and family members is important and selecting the correct friends and spending the appropriate family members who share your values and goals is important for a happy life. Where conflicts occur it is important to work and resolve them so your own goals and values are reached. This may mean parting paths with some dear and loved people. The need to nurture positive relationships is equally important to retain the equilibrium of the 7S principle.

Business Intelligence Project:

The need for the correct team members will be critical to the success of your BI project. A diverse mix of roles and levels within the business should be represented so full insight and consideration can be made to optimal implementation. The personality profile of the team is important to ensure personal connections are made at each phase of the project whilst maintaining the authority to drive home on-time the projects deadlines and quality expectations. A good Meyers Briggs personality test or similar test will provide super insight and provide them a leading opportunity to select the best team members capable to collaboration, creative solutions, detailed work and leadership.


Further Reading and Relevant Articles by JAMSO

How to implement a business intelligence analytics project

Goals and goal setting

JAMSO creates value through goal setting and KPI management training to companies wishing to improve their performance management. Sign up below for our weekly articles. Tuesdays are short articles and Thursday longer articles with references and further reading links to allow a deeper dive into each subject matter.