Understanding Corporate Success Factors
A good way to understand what a CSF represents is by describing it as "the ability to…" do something. This ability should represent the grouping of more granular initiatives and operations, as well as linking directly into the Vision Statement as an enabler of that vision. As CSFs also help drive behaviors, it is also preferable to focus CSF statements in the positives rather than the negative. That is: "ability to do something", instead of "avoiding doing something" or "not doing something"). Many might think of CSFs as strategic objectives. However, strategic objectives are better defined when they represent an actual measure and target, whilst CSFs represent the "ability to" do something, which could enable the measure or target to be achieved.
It is critical that the key stakeholders are part of the process of building the vision statement and CSFs. This will maximize the chances of buy-in for the new strategy and will make them feel ownership of the new strategy. It takes months to develop a new strategy, and it could take as little as minutes to undermine it if the senior leaders of the organization are not behind the new strategy. The new vision and CSFs should be seen as a "medal" or a "shirt", understood by all people in the organization, obvious in what it is trying to achieve and that generates a feeling of pride in being worn. Senior leaders are unlikely to feel pride in a "shirt" they did not help design, hence the importance of engaging them early and regularly when building the new strategy.
Once your vision and CSFs are defined, it is time to define your To-Be operating model. That consists of the organizational structure and the key core processes and value streams that this organization depends on to operate. It is as much about recognizing these processes as it is about identifying opportunities to promote improvement.
If you know your value streams, you know where value is created and what is critical to the organization. Based on that you are then able to define how the organization should structure itself to be able to effectively deploy the new strategy. This is when opportunities for promotion should be awarded to those who have the capability, experience and willingness to help change the organization. The vision, CSFs and To-Be operating model form what most projects would call the design phase. The completion of the To-Be operating model marks the third milestone of the project, validation of the To-Be design.