McKinsey 7s Model is, perhaps, the best model of how a firm should handle its most critical constituents: Strategy, Structure, Systems, Leadership/Management (Style), People (Staff) and Skills and Tools (Skills). For a quick description and explanation of the model, you may read among other articles the following:
The McKinsey model of the firm derives its importance from mainly two things:
(a) It brings to notice the interconnection of the firm’s critical issues. This is to say that no single issue can be dealt with independently of the others: changing one requires that consideration must be given as to how the rest should change too. The effectiveness of the firm is achieved when all the model elements are aligned in a kind of harmonization of conditions, actions and behaviors.
(b) It elevates the soft issues to an equal, if not more important, status besides the hard issues, and further, it places the Culture (Shared Values) at the centre of them all.
And if we now feel the need to review and take a different stance on the model, it is only with regard to this positioning of the culture as the centre of them all.
We, by no means, mean to say or imply that we do not acknowledge the importance of culture. But we want to indicate that culture cannot be at the pivotal point of the firm’s success and well-being.
The reasoning is simple. Culture is of a long-term nature, static in the short-term, and therefore for short-term decisions, actions, and changes cannot be a driver. Though its possibilities for fostering to a lesser or greater degree the others render it prominence, it is not the driving force of all that composes a firm.
For a central driver, we need a dynamic force, one that senses the environment outside and inside the firm, one that is agile and readily seen by all to be at the wheel steering by its choices and decisions the enterprise.
And that force is no other than Leadership/Management which the McKinsey model refers to by the term Style. Leadership crafts strategy, decides on changes of structure, brings in new systems and tools, employs new people, trains for skills, works on management succession, and by its behaviors, actions or omissions is a creator of culture.
Leadership, by logical thought, is the central force on which all other issues of the firm depend to take their shape and value, and it is for this reason that we propose that McKinsey 7s model should be modified as follows to reflect that: