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McKinsey 7S questions

Visit www.iia.org.uk/culture for more information about auditing organisational culture.

Question

Observations

Shared values
1

Are the value statements and codes of conduct clear and


meaningful?

Are values regularly reviewed, evaluated and approved at Board


level?

Do senior managers proactively (formally and informally)


communicate the organisations values and codes of conduct?

Does senior management behaviour exemplify the values and codes


of conduct do they 'walk the talk?'

Do employees understand the values and codes of conduct?

Are the values and code of conduct reinforced? the stories,


symbols, rituals etc. that relay success.

Are the values built into strategy documents, objectives and decision
making?

Do employees acknowledge, accept and apply the values and codes


of conduct?

Are there barriers (real or perceived) to the implementation of values


and the code of conduct?

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Question

Observations

Style
1

Are the board and audit committee involved sufficiently in evaluating


the effectiveness of the 'tone at the top?'

Do the board and managers show a desire to address culture issues


in an open and transparent way?

Do the board receive sufficient and timely information about sensitive


issues?

Are the board and audit committee members independent of


management and willing to ask the tough questions?

Do informal and formal processes exist for employees to be able to


raise issues about behaviour i.e. grievance, whistleblowing etc.?

Where this has arisen are the issues taken seriously?

Do employees feel that senior managers listen to their ideas and


suggestions?

Are exceptions to policy allowed under clearly defined conditions?


When they occur are they documented, explained, and reviewed?

Compliance with the law and regulations is taken seriously?

10

Are mistakes treated as an opportunity for improvement or used to


apportion blame?

11

Do managers foster teamwork and an atmosphere of mutual trust?

www.iia.org.uk/culture

Question

Observations

Skills
1

Are the skills, experience and knowledge of people matched to the


competencies required for the job?

Are training programmes visible and accessible to all?

Is training aligned to shared values e.g. ethical business, customer


treatment?

Is training aligned with the skills and knowledge necessary for the
job?

Is training an expression that people in the organisation are valued?

Are there multiple training options to fit circumstances and needs?

Are training programmes evaluated to ensure they are effective?

Are there arrangements in place to ensure sharing of skills and


knowledge?

www.iia.org.uk/culture

Question

Observations

Staff
1

Do employees have job descriptions that align with the values and
codes of conduct?

How does the recruitment process emphasis the values/code of


conduct and seek to align these expectations with that of
candidates?
Do employees understand their job descriptions?

Do managers and employees regard performance appraisals as


frank with constructive discussion of performance issues versus
'going through the motions'?

Do performance objectives include how employees are


demonstrating the values and codes of conduct in their day to day
working?
Do employees feel performance targets are SMART? (specific,
measurable, achievable, realistic, time-related)

Do employees feel that they have an equal chance of promotion


based upon merit?

Do bonus packages and other performance measures reward the


right behaviour?

Are employees unduly pressured to meet targets? Whatever it


takes.

10

Is the staff appraisal process applied consistent and fairly?

11

Are there mechanisms in place to capture and evaluate employee


ideas on improvements to ways of working?

www.iia.org.uk/culture

Question

Observations

Strategy
1

Is strategy and supporting objectives of business units clearly set out


and aligned to those of the organisation?

Strategy and objectives of business units are periodically reassessed and re-aligned?

Do employees feel that strategic objectives apply to them?


ownership?

Do employees have job descriptions and performance objectives


that align with strategy and objectives?

Do managers and employees understand the risks they face?

Are employees encouraged to understand risks and be involved in


the risk management process?

Is the organisations risk appetite understood and applied to


objectives and decisions by managers and employees?

Are plans and actions put in place when there is divergence of actual
performance from strategic objectives?

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Question

Observations

Structure
1

Does the structure of the business unit facilitate the flow of


information upwards, downwards, and across organisational lines?

Are reporting relationships appropriate? (2nd and 3rd lines of


defence have sufficient independence of the activities they are
providing assurance upon)

Are accountabilities clearly defined?

Are responsibilities and accountabilities clearly communicated and


understood?

www.iia.org.uk/culture

Question

Observations

Systems
1

Are the values built into and impact decision making processes?

Is there a common and clearly understood set of processes set that


underpin core business activities?

Do employees consider controls and regulations within system are


necessary and apply to them?

Security of personal data within systems is taken seriously?

Does the organisation take customer service complaints seriously?

Are customers complaints communicated to the appropriate levels of


management and responded to appropriately in an open and
effective way?

Does the organisation take customer complaints seriously?

Is the appointment of suppliers and contractors transparent and


equitable?

Is the organisation committed to working ethically with business


partners?

10

Does the organisation have adequate procedures to prevent bribery


and corruption?

www.iia.org.uk/culture