Examples of Critical Success Factors

by Suzanne Paulo; Updated September 26, 2017
Business colleagues in meeting

Critical success factors are variables or conditions that are essential for an organization’s success. Details to consider when identifying these factors include the type of industry or product, the business model or strategy of the company, and outside influences, such as the environment or economic climate. Businesses should periodically evaluate and adjust factors as necessary to account for changes in identifiers that might affect future performance. Critical success factors vary by organization, but basic commonalities do emerge.

Leadership

No business can expect to be successful without effective leadership. A good leader inspires, guides and motivates a group of people while directing them toward a common goal. Without someone to monitor and keep the group focused, most groups will flounder and fail to achieve success.

Goals

Successful businesses must have clearly defined goals. All employees should know where the company is going and how it is going to get there. The goals should be specific, attainable and attached to a timetable. The environment of the business should be such that attaining the goals is always the focus. Revisit and redefine goals as necessary when outside factors change in a way that might affect the desired outcome or attainment of the goals.

Roles and Responsiblities

Once leadership and goals are in place, it is important to define the roles and responsibilities necessary to achieve those goals. Make sure that all necessary resources are available to those responsible for working toward a specific goal. Before assigning roles, leadership should ensure that those tasked with certain responsibilities have the necessary training and resources to effectively work toward and achieve their designated goals.

Sharing Information and Teamwork

Successful businesses encourage cooperation and teamwork. Because all employees are working toward a common goal, the sharing of information and cooperation across departments should be encouraged. The technology and infrastructure should be in place to ensure that information sharing and teamwork are possible, and all barriers that might interfere with information dissemination should be removed.

Measures of Success

Businesses must employ methods and procedures that are measurable. It is difficult to declare success if there is nothing in place that can be measured to show proof of that success. Critical success factors should not be confused with key performance indicators. Critical success factors are measured strategically, whereas key performance indicators are quantitatively measured. For example, a critical success factor might be the implementation of a new sales strategy, and the key performance indicator would be the resultant increase in the number of sales.

About the Author

Based in Texas, Suzanne Paulo has been writing for over 15 years. Her work has appeared in such publications as "Catholic Digest," "Guide," "Pockets," "Fun For Kidz" and "Boys' Quest." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in business administration from Washington State University.

Photo Credits

  • altrendo images/Stockbyte/Getty Images