Indentifying Critical Success Factors

By Fishman, Allen E. | THE JOURNAL RECORD, September 28, 1998 | Go to article overview

Indentifying Critical Success Factors


Fishman, Allen E., THE JOURNAL RECORD


Well-defined goals are critical to the success of any company, but it is just as important to identify the critical success factors needed to attain those goals. Such CSFs usually are not fully developed at the planning meeting outlining company goals but are hammered out afterward, then communicated to company employees. Developing CSFs may take as short a time as a few weeks in smaller companies to several months in highly complex ones.

Every employee must understand the company's business goals and how the success factors can help attain them.

Each proposed CSF also must be challenged: Why is it critical to achieving a company goal?

If a company goal is to increase the gross profit of a particular product, for example, a critical success factor might be to achieve a 10 percent increase in gross revenue each month for that product category. Such a CSF might suggest several tactics: An increase in advertising budget; a new selling technique; hiring and training new salespeople; increased compensation incentives for the salespeople; a change in your selling system; new marketing materials; adding products to the category; revamped packaging; adding new locations.

However, each CSF should involve no more than five specific tactics, which should complement rather than conflict with each other.

The responsibility for each CSF may be delegated to specific individuals or collectively to groups or departments, but clear time frames must be outlined for achieving each CSF. Otherwise there is no way to monitor progress toward the company goals. Regular meetings should be scheduled to review progress, and the time frames for achieving CSFs may need to be revised.

Those who are assigned responsibility for CSFs and their tactics must be held accountable, with accountability often tied to their compensation program. Certain standard measurements of performance apply to all areas of the company. …

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