Are You Focused On Your Critical Success Factors?


The most successful business leaders will be able to tell you in a heartbeat what their critical success factors are. Do you feel you can easily recite yours?

My experience tells me that many business leaders, business owners, and senior managers focus on things that are not going to develop their business.  Generally, we all tend to look at new shiny items and ideas and not focus on what will lead to our success, but a big part of being successful is being disciplined to use your efforts and resources on the critical factors that will yield results. Instead of focusing on the bright shiny new things or new-fangled ideas, growth comes when we evaluate what’s working, why and how it can be leveraged in our business.

Here are 3 tips to help you identify what to focus on in your company:

  1. Identify a small number of items (3 to 5) that have to be delivered in a short period of time to give the business the best chance of success in the longer term. Within the Alternative Board we call them “critical success factors”: they are conceptual in nature and will have a series of objectives attached to them.
  2. Rank these items in terms of importance and be clear about the specific outcome required.
  3. Communicate with your staff what the important items are and why they are important. Too many leaders expect staff to be mind readers and they are not. They need to be clear on what is important for them to focus on.

Do you feel you are focused on your critical success factors?  Was this list of tips helpful for you to get your list started?  I’d like to hear your own experiences, so please share them with me in the comments!

A Leader’s Quotes on Leadership

FollowingLeaderOne of my fellow TAB colleagues in the UK, Stephen Heslop highlighted in his blog 6 of the 12 quotes delivered by Richard Branson and published in IOD’s Magazine for July /August entitled ‘Branson on Leadership’.

I particularly liked this blog and wanted to share the six quotes with you as they clearly capture the sentiment and principles I have tried to instill when providing advice to many TAB members and SMB owners over the last decade.

No. 1 Simplicity
“Complexity is your enemy. Any fool can make something complicated. It is hard to keep things simple”

No. 2 Tools & Measurements
“Give individuals the tools they need, outline some work parameters to work within, and just let them do their stuff

No. 3 Lead by Example
“Nobody respects a leader who doesn’t know how to get his hands dirty and innovate personally” 

No. 4 Ability to Listen
“Assemble a great management team that has a passion and a real sense of ownership. Look for leaders who LISTEN to both employees and CUSTOMERS. 

No. 5 Focus
“Rather than focusing on mistakes, catch someone doing something right everyday” 

No. 6 Risks
“Screw it, just do it, because to succeed as a business leader, you must have the bravery to give it a go”


A good part of running your own business is being a strong leader. I hope you have enjoyed reading these quotes and you will share with me your thoughts on leadership in the comments below.