Power of Self Awareness: The McKinsey 7’S Framework Way

“A solitary fantasy can transform a million realities. Understanding oneself and envisioning that future is a way to it.”

Debbie Ford defined self awareness as the ability to take an honest look at your life without attachment to it being right or wrong. It’s the ability to be honest, vulnerable and authentic in your desire to understand yourself & what makes you tick with a goal in mind. The goal often times is to be a better version of yourself either in your personal life, professional life or business world. It all depends with what your priorities and focus is at that particular time. Key is to acknowledge that you may go through transformational phases with your identity, priorities and desires changing. What matters is being able to align with the essential values at the core of it as I earlier wrote about here.

This evening I’ve been honored to host #LadiesTalk session with my team at Ryculture Health & Social Innovation on Self Awareness where we hosted Eng. Faridah Odhiambo. Through her presentation which you can watch here, she was deliberate on sharing the basic tenets that contribute to and define who we are i.e. personality, values, habits, emotions and needs. In line with the presentation, I have come to realize that often times there is a tendency to focus on business management principles and tools for use in exclusively in that domain. While this is the norm, I believe there’s no limitation on the use of business management principles & models in running personal lives and that’s why drawing on McKinsey 7’s Framework in the business world, I’m keen on challenging each of us to consider applying the same in our personal lives especially with regard to self awareness which was the topic of discussion. For start, the McKinsey 7’s Framework focuses on how we can perform internal assessment with a focus on improving to achieve our goals and aspirations in the future. This aligns with the focus of self awareness and the framework builds a case around 7 factors as discussed below in the context of self awareness:

  1. Strategy – plan to win. In self awareness, we all aspire to be better versions of ourselves or rather more successful in one way or the other. In order to achieve this, the strategy is how we intend to achieve this in a structured manner with a plan on how to realize that goal. The building blocks, timelines and required resources are outlined in this section. It’s the high level overview of what you intend to do, what’s needed to accomplish it and how it’ll be implemented.
  2. Structure – structure of resources. This outlines the overall scope of what resources are available in your environment that can be put to use in helping you realize your strategic goal. In this case, we can consider the relationships you have, work environment or sector within which you operate and the trends in these spaces. Considering these, you can assess the current status in line with what will be needed to realize your goal and optimize accordingly by either transitioning, forming new alliances or making the best use of what’s available.
  3. Systems – processes and activities. In life there are the specific actions we take to achieve our goals. These include work we do, extra learning that exposes us to the market dynamics & sectoral concerns among others. The focus around the systems bit is ensuring you assess the activities you are doing in the current moment in line with your goal and determine whether these are aligned. If your focus & current activities are out of tune, it’s better to refocus and realign for the better. Otherwise you’ll be putting in the work which doesn’t align with your goal thus inefficient use & deployment of resources.
  4. Style – the way things are done. This looks at your way of doing things. If you need to acquire skills and based on your predisposition, reading books isn’t the best way it’s better to consider others styles e.g. attending webinars, watching tutorials, reading articles & blogs like this one among others. The focus is on ensuring you adopt a style that works for you considering what you’ve been doing and whether it has been giving the intended results or not.
  5. Staff – employees. In your life it’s given that you don’t have employees helping you become self aware but in this case it’s the way you’ll be able to achieve the goals as the key employee. You have to look at you as the centerpiece who will drive this meaningful work to achieve the goal without which it’ll not happen. Once you envision this then you determine how you’ll do the work.
  6. Skills – skills of employees and organization. For every activity or task we perform, there’s need for skills. In our lives there are skills we’ll need to be able to perform better in line with realization of our goal. Assuming you wanted to be an influential blogger, the key would be to learn & acquire writing skills, learn extensively on the areas in which you want to blog about to be an authority in that space among others. There are skills needed and your part is to assess the skills you have, those you need and determine how to fill the skills gap. Skills development is better & easier when you are self aware.
  7. Shared Values – core values. These are the non-negotiables and the core drivers behind why you do what you do, how you do what you do and what you are known for in that space. It’s the ultimate identity & brand you aspire for. You need to determine your current values (what you know yourself for & what you are known for), establish what you’d want to be know for and find a way to align and manifest the ideals from the get-go.

I believe that by applying the McKinsey 7’s Framework in our self awareness and personal development journey, we are suited to make pragmatic improvements helping us realize our potential. It’s time to think of our lives as corporate entities, organizations and transcend segregation of principles & partial adoption of principles to 360 degrees application of these principles.

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