The Four Critical Success Factors to Help Small Businesses Reach Success
During a recent presentation, a business owner was given the following challenge. If 10 of his 100 employees were asked to name the top 3 organizational goals for the current year as they perceived them to be, would he receive the same 3 goals from everyone or would he receive 5, 10 or even 25 different goals? The business owner shook his head and thoughtfully responded, “No, I am sure that I would receive more than 3 goals.” He was then asked to consider what these misdirected actions from his employees were costing him in terms of missed opportunities.
At another presentation, a small business owner was asked if she set goals? She responded quite enthusiastically, “Of course, I set goals.” She was asked a follow-up question: “Can you state with 100% conviction that your employees know how to consistently achieve both their personal and professional goals?” After a few moments, she replied “No.” She was then asked how this lack of knowledge potentially affected her bottom line?
A president of a company was asked: “Have you ever seen behavior inconsistent with your strategic plan?” He quickly answered “Yes!” A second question was asked, “What did you do about it?” “Well, we sent them to training and within 6 months we had to send them back again?” A final question was then posed to the President. “Are these performance failures a result of a lack of knowledge or skills or due to poor attitudes and habits?” The president immediately said “Why bad attitudes and poor habits.” Again, the facilitator asked another question: “What are all these re-do’s costing your company?”
During the annual meeting, the CEO of a manufacturing company informed her executive team that she wanted to achieve a 10% growth during the next 12 months. The VP of Operations made plans to purchase new manufacturing equipment for some new products while the VP of Marketing & Sales began to implement a plan selling existing products. The CFO decided to cut budgets to capital improvements and marketing. All three executive team members believed that their actions would help achieve the 10% growth.
These scenarios shared four critical success factors (CSF’s) that impede small businesses from achieving consistent results: communication, goal setting and goal achievement skills, attitudes and alignment.
Critical Factor #1: Communication is the key to unlocking the potential within businesses as well as individuals. When the goals are in alignment with the vision and consistently communicated from top down, then performance excellence is much more likely to happen. Inconsistent communication contributes to missed targets and lowers the performance for the entire organization.
Critical Factor #2: Goal setting and goal achievement are learned skills. Unfortunately, many presume that these skills are acquired during the K-12 educational experiences through the “Osmosis Process.” Also, these skills are not actively taught in the corporate setting. Yet, consistent goal achievement or the results are what every organization seeks.
Critical Factor #3: Attitudes drive behaviors that result in change. Many companies focus on trying to change negative behaviors because they are experiencing negative change. However, when the negative attitudes are replaced with positive attitudes, those attitudes will drive positive behaviors creating positive change. By failing to address negative attitudes, new trends, changes or initiatives, the result is wasted resources creating a negative drain on the “KASH Box.”
Critical Factor #4: Alignment is necessary to ensure that the desired results are achieved. Performance excellence happens when the strategies, systems and people are working together to build loyal internal customers that drive loyal external customers. The much heard adage about “Getting everyone to row in the same direction” is true, but probably should be amended to include the following “by using the same paddles.”
When these four CSF’s work together, results happen quicker and create a culture of working “smarter and not harder.” As a small business coach, I ask all of my clients the following questions. Hopefully, they may help you to achieve the consistent results that you desire.
1. Do I know with 100% accuracy that every employee can clearly articulate the top 3 goals for the organizations?
2. Does every person within the organization consistently sets and achieves all of his or her personal and professional goals?
3. Does everyone within the organization at ALL times consistently demonstrate positive attitudes?
4. Are the strategies, systems and people in alignment to build loyal internal customers?