The 7S model is a useful way to look at the many interrelated aspects of a complex organization and it’s a great way to help you understand your organization and leverage it to maximum efficiency and profitability.
Essentially, you’ll want to run through each of the seven points and analyze how they fit in with your business. The concepts remain fairly similar, with some minor changes.
The Seven S’s and You
- Structure: Look at the structure of your organization. How is your organizational structure designed right now? If you had to suddenly hire another 6 employees tomorrow, what would it look like? What changes would you have to make? If your customer has a complaint, or if there is some kind of emergency, how are problems escalated? Is there a stated hierarchy and an “in-practice” hierarchy?
- Systems: How do you gather business intelligence? If you have to put together a report on something, could you do it quickly? What happens if one of your staff leaves; will they take with them a key part of your business intelligence?
- Skills: What skills have you been hiring for? What skills do you need? What skills will you need in about 2 years from now? Does someone in your organization have those skills and are you grooming them for an important role in 2 years? What skills will you need to possess in two years that are different than the skills you possess today? For example, in going from a solopreneur to a multi- staff business, you may need to develop managerial skills you may not already possess.
- Style: How would you describe your business? How would your employees describe your business? How would your competitors describe your business? How would your customers describe your business? How would your vendors describe your business? If all five would say the same thing then you’re on the right track; if they say different things then it could indicate a potential problem. Is this same style and culture going to carry you through to the next new years? What will have to change for you to grow?
- Staff: Are you staffed to serve customers adequately? Will the addition or deletion of one or two staff members change anything? Are your staff members trained to do their jobs? Can you give them any other skills or resources to do their job better? What’s holding them back from helping you grow your business? Are they “bought in” to seeing your business develop?
- Superordinate goals (which later was appropriately renamed Shared Values): What are your stated values? What do you measure and reward? Are they the same thing? How can you make minor changes to bring them in line with each other? What are your stated values supposed to contribute to your business? Do they contribute what you want them to contribute?
- Strategy: What is your plan for the future? When was the last time you looked at your business plan? What were the actions you took after looking at it? When was the last time you updated your business plan? Does your business plan provide a valuable guide for tomorrow or has it just been a document to help you shop around for financing? What about your marketing plan? What will you be doing in 3 years in your business and what can you do today to proactively see that happen?