An organization not knowing it’s critical success factors (CSFs) is like going to soccer’s World Cup without a goalkeeper or, at best, an incompetent one. The term critical success factors does not appear to be addressed by some of the leading writers of the past 30 years. Peter Drucker, Jim Collins, Gary Hamel, Tom Peters, Robert Kaplan, and David Norton all appear to ignore the existence of critical success factors. Yet, in my mind, this is a missing link in management theory, for CSFs may be the El Dorado of management.

Critical success factors (CSFs) are operational issues or aspects that need to be done well day-in, day-out by the staff in the organization. I believe an organization should have between five to eight CSFs. While most organizations know their success factors, few organizations have:

  • Worded their success factors appropriately
  • Segregated out success factors from their strategic objectives
  • Sifted through the success factors to find their critical ones—their CSFs
  • Communicated the CSFs to staff

See chapter from 3rd edition


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