Strategic Planning Tool: The McKinsey 7s Model

With firms planning out 2021, here’s a reminder that for strategies to be meaningful, you must align everything in your organization to match the strategy. McKinsey & Company consultants Tom Peters and Robert Waterman created a useful alignment tool known as the 7-S Model.

It recommends that structure, systems, skills, shared values, staff, and leadership style all be in alignment in support of the strategy.

Here’s a summary of the 7-S Model, an example, and a template for your own 7s model

It’s That Time of Year; Time to Plan for Next Year

Every fall, we gather at an annual offsite meeting to set goals, no more than three per year, for the upcoming year. We also include time for socializing with each other (though, this year, it’s all remote meetings and a virtual happy hour).

Not only does it give us a clear focus for the next 12 months, but it also reminds us of why we are choosing to build a business together.

Here are the guidelines we follow:

  • Limit goals to no more than three, with one identified as the top goal.
  • Make goals measurable so you know when your goals have been met.
  • Assign ultimate responsibility for each goal to someone with the proper authority.
  • Have frequent updates to “shine a light” on progress toward each goal.
  • Create a theme that ties everyone in the company to the top goal for the year.
  • Hold quarterly meetings to review what’s been done and what’s next.

Here’s the low-down how we run our Strategic Planning two-day offsite.

A Communication Cheat Sheet to Help Leadership Understand One Another

At Intertech, we improve communication in the leadership team through personality cheat sheets, which are personality profiles that remind us who hates long-winded descriptions and who struggles to make a decision that involves something unpleasant. This is to keep us from driving each other crazy in those little annoying everyday ways that creep up when people work closely together for a long time. The cheat sheets are the result of a personality inventory similar to a Myers–Briggs test. I highly recommend it for any group of partners or managers who work closely together.

Also, we are intentional about building strong, trusting relationships among the leadership team. Pre-COVID, a weekly lunch at a local restaurant took us away from the daily press of business and helped us reconnect on a more fundamental level.

Here’s ours (names changed to protect the innocent) of a communication cheat sheet.

Reviews Don’t Work, Here’s a Tool for Performance Management

Professionals expect clarity in performance appraisals and promotions. Make sure the expectations are set clearly from the very first day and give frequent feedback along the way. We’ve adopted the Dale Carnegie Key Result Areas (KRAs) approach to talent management. We use the following questions:

  • What is the purpose of my job? This answer should be extremely simple, such as “selling our services.”
  • What do I need to do to make it happen? For someone in sales, the answer might be “call 100 potential clients every day.”
  • What tools do I need to be successful? For a salesperson, training in phone skills or negotiation techniques might be in order.
  • How do I know when results have been achieved?

Here’s a template to help you implement KRAs for performance management.

Top Downloadable Resources from The 100

My book, The 100, was supplemented by more than 25 downloadable templates and checklists to help lead a team, run a business, and manage your life.  They are all available for free, and based on downloads, here are a few of the most popular:

START/STOP/CONTINUE/HASSLES SURVEY:  A survey for soliciting feedback from employees on what to quit, start, and focus on in the future.

STRATEGIC PLANNING GUIDE AND AGENDA:  A guide for execution of a two-day off-site strategic planning session.

HUDDLE AGENDA:  A guide for running an effective leadership 15-minute huddle.