The four tasks to undertake to ascertain your organisation’s critical success factors (CSFs)

To help organisations around the world find their CSFs, I have developed a four-task process.

Task 1: Documenting the already identified success factors

Review the strategic plans covering the past 10 years, then extract and develop success factors from these documents. You may find an old strategic document, written by a talented executive who has long since left.  This could prove very helpful because the success factors are still relevant.  The KPI team should interview the CEO and senior management team as well some of the organisation’s “oracles”. These are the wise men and women who everybody refers to for advice (e.g., “You need to talk to Pat”), along with the entire senior management team. From this information, you will be able to come up with a list of success factors.

Task 2: Determining the operational critical success factors in a two-day workshop

From my experience in this area, most organisations will need to run a two-day workshop attended by oracles, as well as many of the senior management team as possible. It is important to have experienced staff attend this workshop, as you are trying to ascertain the organisation’s success factors and then determine which ones are critical. It is not a workshop for new staff, no matter how bright they are.

Task 3: Presenting the Critical Success Factors to the staff

Once the CSFs have been ascertained, there is a need to communicate them to those who have not been part of the process. The senior management team members, managers, and staff who have not attended the CSF workshop will need to understand how they came about and their significance.

The CSFs need to be discussed with employee representatives and conveyed to staff to maximise the benefits once the CSFs have been ascertained. If staff members are told what is important, they can align their daily activities to enhance their contribution.

Task 4: The CSFs on the wall in every workplace

This is an important step; however, from my observation it is often overlooked. The only way the CSFs will make a change in an organisation is when staff live, breathe, and own the CSFs. For that to happen, the CSFs need to be communicated and agreed in a meaningful way rather than just written up as a list. I came across a brilliant example of how to communicate to staff what is important. The company, in question, prepared a cartoon representation of what it wanted to achieve in the year, and staff pinned it on their office walls. It was printed on A3 paper in full colour. I believe this concept is an ideal way to present the CSFs to staff.

Using performance measures which are not linked to the critical success factors (CSFs) of your organisation can severely hamper your ability to manage business performance. Read more “Finding your organisation’s critical success factors toolkit” on the website.

This information has been extracted from David Parmenter’s Key Performance Indicators (4th Edition) which is the highest rated KPI book on Amazon.

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