theCritical Success Factors for Business Planning

Focus on areas which are CRITICAL to achieving your organization’s objectives

Planning doesn’t need to be complicated.  Therefore, don’t make it so.  Use critical success factors to accomplish more of what you want.

To clarify, the following strategy model is comprehensive, yet not complicated.

  1. Establish your Vision.  This is what “DONE” looks like for your business.
  2. Determine your Values.  They provide a framework for behaviors and decision making.  Values ultimately become your culture.
  3. Be clear on what you want to accomplish in the next 12-18 months.  These are your objectives or targets.

Your strategic thinking is done once these steps are complete.  Next, you need to translate the strategic into the tactical.

Your Critical Success Factors (or Critical Goal Categories) help build that bridge.  They provide convenient “buckets” or broad categories to set goals in.  This increases the chances that day to day activities support achieving your objectives.

Working On The Tactical

Depending on your objectives for the year, Critical Success Factors can include:

  • Customer focus
  • Cash flow
  • Workforce
  • Growth
  • Organizational Development and/or
  • Continuous Improvement

It’s a best practice to have between four and seven Critical Success Factors.  In general, more than seven can lead to having too many priorities, rather than just a critical few.  Fewer than four may not be sufficient to accomplish all that you want.

All in all, the goal categories must be both sufficient and necessary in order to achieve the yearly objectives.  Remember, don’t complicate things.  Focus on the following questions “Is this category necessary?”  And “All together, will the categories be sufficient or is something missing?

Then, set goals in each after the Critical Success Factors are decided on.

For example:

Critical Success Factor- Customer Focus

Goal- We will increase customer satisfaction rating to 95%.

Critical Success Factor- Cash Flow

Goal- We will decrease accounts receivable days to 15.

Each goal category can have multiple goals.  Prioritize your goals once they are set.  Then, make sure the action steps get onto your calendar. If delegated, they need to be on that person’s calendar.

Ultimately, you will accomplish more than you may have previously thought possible.