Critical Success Factors … Have you looked into creating yours?

John F. Rockart popularised Critical Success Factors (CSFs) during the 1970s and they’ve been used broadly in businesses since then.

Having a clear and focused mission/vision statement is imperative. Something the whole company are involved with. To compliment this, objectives and goals need to be in situ and this is where our core skillsets lie.
I was never really a believer in ‘Mission Statements’ as I felt they were simply the words of my Bosses. Unfortunately, at the time, that’s all they were as I had no input or education as to what it stood for. Having worked with many organisations to achieve their own with the Team’s input, I can now see the true benefit.

This ‘Statement’ will, in turn, help all to bond towards CSFs as you have created a common focal point. As Rockart determined, CSFs aren’t a one hit wonder but need constantly and careful attention for success to become apparent.

Now going back to the goals and mission statements, these are where the focus should be as to WHAT needs to be achieved. CSFs refer to the HOW and to identify what really matters to obtain success and the measurements you put into place to observe this.

Often we can’t see the wood for the trees so let’s use a Timber Merchant as an ironic example and take a fictitious statement “To uphold a customer satisfaction level of 93% while expanding an increased product range appealing to new clients all resulting in a 38% of regional market share”.

You then look to what the (a) objectives are in view of this statement and then the HOW, the (b) Critical Success Factors. So to continue:

(a) Uphold Satisfaction levels of 93%

(b) Keep customers informed of latest products. Insure staff are fully trained and updated via manufacture visits on latest tools.

(a) Expand product range

(b) Welcome new reps/organisations to see what they have to offer. Look at market trends. Ask staff for their input.

(a) Achieve 38% market share

(b) Marketing and advertising to attract more clients. Look to become more competitive.

From initially creating your objectives and CSFs, keep this as a basis to work from but then hone in the essential ones, the ‘C’ part!

Whatever you do, don’t create a long list of CSFs as they will simply get lost within their own numbers. 5 or fewer ‘Essential’ ones are ideal to focus on.

In summary

  1. Formulate a company Mission/Vision statement
  2. Create an objective list to achieve the goal and then the HOW (the CSFs themselves)
  3. Hone down – make sure your CSFs are manageable, achievable and realistic
  4. Constantly visit, re-visit and re-re-visit to evaluate and monitor how things are progressing (or
    not) then re-enforce the CSFs
  5. Communicate how it’s going. Include staff, suppliers etc

Give it a go and should you wish to look at creating a fantastic Mission Statement or the means to put this into place long term, we’re here to help. Simply call to arrange your free consultation and see how you can help make those changes! Neil looks forward to hearing from you either by calling 07761 187238 or email

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