Have you heard the term ‘Critical Success Factors’? What springs to mind when you hear those words?
If you read any typical management or leadership definition of ‘critical success factors’, you will probably come up with a long list of ‘tasks’ or ‘actions’ – for example – gaining 20 % more new business, gaining a 30% uplift in revenue from existing customers. And this seems like common sense right? Wrong.
Here’s the thing.
The one thing they are right about, is that the critical success factors are the things a business needs to succeed. But the type of tasks mentioned above are just tasks, objectives, they might be the right tasks for that business but to describe them as critical success factors misses the real point.
The critical success factors are far more fundamental than that. And they are determined by your values.
Before you can determine your goals – as we discussed in the last blog (read it here), you have to determine what matters to you. Once you have looked at your values, you can then determine your goals. Once you have your goals matching your values, you can then look at the critical success factors. What I mean by that is – what are the things that will mean YOU know the goal has been achieved.
Achieving a 30% uplift in revenue from existing customers may be the right goal, if your values are around profit, and customer retention. But the critical success factor will be the things that helps you achieve that goal. If one of your values is to help your customers, then the critical success factor (which will help you reach your goal), might be a 100% customer retention, or gaining a testimonial from 50% of new clients.
The critical success factors will result in the achievement of the goals. Therefore, your focus needs to be not on your goal but on your critical success factors. If you focus on making sure your service is excellent and asking for testimonials is built in to your system, then customer satisfaction is likely to rise, resulting in more revenue.
If you are not getting testimonials, for example, you have the opportunity to address the reasons why. Whereas, if you are focused on the end goal, and the results are not coming, all you are likely to do, is beat up your sales people / yourself for not getting the results.
Can you now see the importance of identifying the critical success factors?
The other important reason for having your own specific critical success factors is that it is harder to hide behind excuses when your values are on the line. And, conversely, easier to motivate yourself to achieve these factors. If you only have the goal – 30% increase, and you are going off track, it is all too easy to give up. You don’t know why it isn’t working (probably cos you are focusing on the wrong things), and so it becomes easy to make excuses and let yourself off.
If, however, your highest value is community, and one of the critical success factors for you is to post daily to your FB page – and you keep your values in mind, well then it becomes easy to keep to your commitment and hard to make excuses.
So, what are your critical success factors? Because you have only two choices. You can make progress, or you can make excuses.
It can be hard work determining what your specific critical success factors should be. But the good news is you don’t have to do it alone. Have a look at our FB page here, where you can find out more about out WHYS women and men, and join our Live, Love, Laugh Lounge or our Man Cave. And remember – continue to live, love and laugh everyday and be you in your own unique way.