Strategic Planning – Critical Success Factors

I am curious if anyone else has identified Critical Success Factors for their organizations during their strategic planning process.

We have come up with 5 critical success factors we feel apply across the entirety of our agency which covers several different business lines.
They are:
1. Organizational commitment to operational excellence.
2. Effective and efficient use of technology.
3. Right people, with the right skills, in the right job, in the right way.
4. Strong key collaborative relationships.
5. Organizational commitment to security and protection of all FMS assets.

Underneath each we have supporting goals that we are in the process of identifying.

What are your critical success factors?

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Tom Vannoy

Hi Jean-Paul,
Great questions. Yes, we tied the CSF’s into our Mission/Vision/Values – we updated them first. We are in the midst of identifying measurable goals/action plans to support each of the CSF’s so that we do not fail at meeting any of them. Illustrating the success is something I will admit I have not given too much thought to…I will now that you brought it up.


Rob Pannoni

IMO, the biggest killer for strategic plans is that they tend to be divorced from the realities of those who will need to implement them or whose lives will be changed by them. In our workshops on governance, we teach leaders to “take a stakeholder view”–that is,to see the implications of proposed strategies (or other org changes) through the ideas of every group who will be impacted. What will they lose? What will they gain? What existing processes will the new strategy break? What resources will they need and is it realistic to provide these resources?

It’s sort of a “real world” reality check that helps you figure out if the strategy is likely to gain traction and how to “sell” it internally. No point in creating a strategy that’s never going to fly.

Gerry La Londe-Berg

A couple thoughts:

I would reorder them 1,3,4,5,2

Second – I would look at Kotter’s thoughts on leading change.

Kotter, John P., Leading Change = In Leading Change, John Kotter identifies an eight-step process to overcome the obstacles and carry out the firm’s agenda: establishing a greater sense of urgency, creating the guiding coalition, developing a vision and strategy, communicating the change vision, empowering others to act, creating short-term wins, consolidating gains and producing even more change, and institutionalizing new approaches in the future.

Finally, there’s a strong argument to be made that the strategic planning process is as much, or more, about the process than it is about the finished plan. The ownership of the constituents is what will carry the plan forward and their willingness and ability to fulfill the goals is based on whether they helped shape them in the first place. There’s a variety of ways to go about this. It starts at the top and filters down to plan the process within the organization’s mission; then the solicited input is integrated based on the larger parameters of the process. Assuring that you seek input from the smallest (practical) unit/group and soliciting input within guidelines and showing them how their input filtered up, and back down, will make the outcome sustainable. Similarly, helping each local unit frame their local manifestation of the overall goals is critical. Measurement, feedback and listening are the key ingredients along with your well stated “critical factors”.

John Jorgensen

Tom, I’m late to the discussion, but it seems to me that you’re missing a critical factor – common vision, communicated from leadership, for organizational objectives. The framework you describe in your original post above could be used to run a gas station – i.e., an organization only oriented toward immediate execution tasks, with no long-term objectives in mind. Gerry’s comment on Kotter’s process addresses this directly. Start with the desired end objective in mind, and work backwards to determine the CSFs you need to succeed.