All Posts Tagged With: "critical success factors"
One of the biggest problems with strategic planning is figuring out how to prioritize all of the initiatives that the process produces. Every leader and every department thinks their initiatives are critical to the success of the organization, which raises a second major problem with strategic planning: deselecting initiatives to narrow the focus to the vital few. People may not agree on which initiatives are most important, but nobody wants to see their “baby” thrown out.
In “Prioritizing and Managing Improvement Initiatives: 4 Steps That Drive Results,” (The Glue, ActiveStrategy, March 17, 2010), Jack Steele suggests ranking initiatives by a common set of criteria to remove some of the emotion and politics from the equation. The criteria could include support for your mission and vision, alignment with critical success factors, potential impact on balanced scorecard or financial metrics, and potential impact on growth. Steele notes: “When ranking, you might want to boost the score of any initiatives that cut across the organization since they will likely have a greater overall impact.”
Once you have consensus on the rank of your strategic initiatives, you’re ready to move on to the first of Steele’s four steps: Prioritize by sequencing. Which initiatives do you work on first? This may also allow you to save a few initiatives that would otherwise be cut by delaying work on them until resources become available.
The …Steve George | 1 comment | Continued
The Baldrige Criteria ask: “What are the principal factors that determine your success relative to your competitors?”
With a little thought, most leadership teams can answer the question fairly easily. As with all things Baldrige, however, a quick response misses the underlying process question: How do you determine what those critical success factors (CSFs) are? Just because leaders brainstorm CSF candidates and agree on the final list doesn’t mean it’s the right list, any more than assuming you know what your customers expect is actually what they expect. You need a process for identifying your organization’s critical success factors because so much of what you do—strategic planning, performance measurement, process management—is aligned with those factors.
In “Finding your organization’s critical success factors—the missing link in performance management” (pdf), David Parmenter describes such a process whose goal is to define five to eight relatively specific CSFs. Some organizations, including some Baldrige Award recipients, use broad terms to describe their CSFs. For example, North Mississippi Medical Center (NMMC), which won the Award in 2006, has five CSFs: People, Service, Quality, Financial, and Growth. Parmenter argues that a CSF should clarify what is expected of all employees, and he gives a few examples:
- Delivering in full, on time, all the time, to our key customers
- Finding better ways to do the things we do everyday
- Maintaining a safe, happy, and healthy workplace