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McKinsey’s 7S Framework – Skills

CMS Vocational Training Hadyn Luke posted this on Monday 15th of February 2021 Hadyn Luke 15/02/2021


McKinsey’s 7S Framework – Skills

Many organisations use McKinsey’s 7S Framework as a tool to manage their day-to-day operations, work on special projects or prepare for change.

The framework was introduced in the 1970s in the book In Search of Excellence by two McKinsey consultants, Thomas J Peters and Robert H Waterman. It sets out seven factors that influence the way an organisation operates. There are three “hard” factors: Strategy, Systems and Structure, and four “soft” factors: Style, Staff, Skills and Shared Values.

In this blog, we are looking in more detail at Skills.

How is Skills defined within the Framework?

Every individual in an organisation will have specific skills that they have developed through study and practical experience, as well as innate abilities.

Being able to call on the right skills to deliver results is crucial to success within an organisation. These might be management skills, technical skills, people skills, marketing skills or sales skills, among others.

How does Skills relate to the other elements of the 7S Framework?

Skills relates to the other elements as follows:

Strategy – do the skills exist to carry out the organisation’s strategy?

Structure – are the right skills in place at each level of the company’s structure?

Systems – are there systems to help existing staff develop their skills and to bring in new people with the right skills when required?

Style – are the organisation’s leaders able to recognise gaps in skills and take the steps to fill them?

Staff – what skills do staff have and how can they be supported to develop new skills?

Shared Values – do the skills of employees help to promote the organisation’s values?

Establishing effective Skills

To reach its goals, a company should be aware of the skills that its people has and also where there are gaps that need filling. This can be carried out through monitoring and assessing the skills available to it – whether from employees or contractors/freelancers.

The result may lead to recruiting new employees, taking on apprentices, bringing in outside consultants, or offering training and continual professional development (CPD) to existing employees.

An organisation’s leaders should always look to the future when considering the skills at their disposal. No business survives by standing still when the marketplace around it is constantly evolving. New skills might be required when:

  • An opportunity opens up to reach new clients/markets
  • Technological advances offer opportunities or threats to the organisation
  • A new or existing competitor endangers market share
  • An outside threat arises, such as new legislation


Skills may be a “soft” element of McKinsey’s 7S Framework, but without the correct skills among the workforce, an organisation will struggle to meet its goals.

The skills required in a company will be continually evolving, due to internal and external influences – from experienced staff leaving or retiring to outside threats from competitors or a changing market. A successful business will therefore be constantly evaluating the skills it has at its disposal and looking to plug any skills gaps.

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