I have been working with a number of different organisations to find their critical success factors. This work has further supported the process as outlined in Chapter 7 in my 2nd Edition of Key Performance Indicators. In one organisation the first phase of gathering the success factors had been truncated and this had a serious undermining impact on the exercise. It is really important, before the critical success factor workshop occurs to have viewed all the ‘strategic masterpieces’ that have been written in the organisation in the last 10 years (may not be as many as one might expect). In these documents you will find many success factors have been highlighted that have passed the 14 year old test e.g, a 14 year old would understand the success factors and know what to concentrate on should they be running the company for a day.

In another exercise the success factors were mixed with strategic objectives. These success factors were too broad and encompassing whereas a success factor should be very precise and narrow such as, ‘timely arrival and departure of aeroplanes’. In another exercise, where the steps had been undertaken, a critical success factor emerged that was so obvious and yet had been overlooked. Gold had laid undiscovered in the backyard!

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