Aligning change efforts

gears free to useAs Anita pointed out last time, building the capacity for change requires knowing an organization’s skill sets and training needs.  That’s one critical piece of a larger puzzle – understanding how the various parts of an organization are interdependent and how they will be impacted by a change effort.

McKinsey has developed a model to help leaders think about the interconnecting impact of organizational change.  Their “Seven-S Model” is described on MindTools at this link. It includes seven interdependent factors that need to be considered when engaging in change efforts.

“Hard” Elements

  • Strategy:  What is our vision?  How was it developed? Who was involved?
  • Structure:  How is our work getting done?  Does the current organizational chart support the collaborative relationships we need?  How does information flow?
  • Systems/Processes:  What financial, IT, HR, and communications systems are needed to support the work? Are key processes working effectively?

“Soft” Elements

  • Style/Culture:  How participative is our current leadership style? Do employees and units tend to be collaborative or competitive? How do decisions get made?
  • Staff:  Do people understand their own roles and responsibilities and each other’s? How diverse is our work team?
  • Skills:  What competencies are needed to do the work?  Do we have the skills and specializations we need?
  • Shared values:  What are our core values? How strongly are they shared?  What evidence exists of the values (stories, symbols, behaviors, etc.)

Once you have an understanding of the current state of these seven elements, you can then start thinking about how they might need to change in order to support the new goals and strategy.

As you can see, large-scale change is complex and messy.  Asking strategic questions such as those proposed in the Seven-S model is one way to help keep track of the moving parts.

Dee Anne Bonebright





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