Building a Plan with Critical Success Factors

A Company's Critical Success Factors (I just call them "CSF's") are the measurable objectives that a company sets on an annual or quarterly basis that map directly to the goal of the organization.  A mentor of mine had a motto on his desk that said, "Focus on the critical few and ignore the trivial many".  It is so true and so, so hard.  CSF's are the foundation of the one page business plan and every action by every role in the Company should roll up to a Critical Success Factor.  CSF's raise the bar for your organization and the people you are holding accountable to its success.

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Structuring the Critical Success Factor Framework

The Critical Success Factor framework is simple.  It gives everyone in the Company (including investors and Boards) a glanceable view into what's important and what it will take to get there.  There aren't that many boxes but it's amazing how challenging it can be to align an organization to populate the plan.   




Establishing the SMART Goals

SMART Goals are the contributing goals that roll up to completion of the Critical Success Factors.  By definition, if the SMART goals are achieved, the CSF will be achieved.  SMART Goals have owners and have plans below them.  The right SMART goals break down silos in organizations and get people working cross functionally.  

Planning the Tasks

All SMART goals have tasks that will contribute to its successful completion.  Tasks are work items that should map very clearly to the roles of people in your organization.  Building tasks is about doing the thinking and planning in advance so that the team can focus on execution.