Thursday, December 7, 2023
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How Do You Define Success?

by James Canada

Last month we talked about critical success factors as a way to measure your company’s performance. But in a business world that is increasingly specialized and customized, there is no one-size-fits-all metric. Indeed, now more than ever, success is in the eye of the beholder.

So, how do you go about creating critical success factors that are right for your unique business?

Unfortunately, there is no scientific method. However, there are ways in which your leadership team can develop a set of criteria that best supports the vision the team has defined to ensure that you have an accurate, effective gauge of where you stand—and more importantly, where you are going.

The most important step in the process is to focus on the word “team.” Everyone needs to have an equal standing and say in the creation of these factors.

Leaders need to step aside and become members of the collective, not only to make it easier for everyone to speak up, but also to keep the leaders from unintentionally guiding the process and to give everyone a greater sense of ownership. To achieve a robust round-table discussion, it’s usually a good idea to bring in an outside facilitator who can make sure no one person dominates the proceedings.

I have found success as a facilitator by asking each team member to jot down their definition of a critical success factor on a yellow Post-it® note, which I then have them post in the front of the room, one person at a time. One by one, the team adds potential success factors to the wall and groups the duplicates, with no discussion. Once the wall is plastered with yellow notes, the discourse begins, with everyone encouraged to remove, add, or combine factors, gradually whittling down the wall of notes to the four or five critical success factors that will help them achieve their vision.

There is no right or wrong factor. However, to ensure success, the team should always consider customers and employees when creating critical success factors.

These success factors should be revisited regularly to check progress and make sure you haven’t strayed from the path. You might also need to adjust in response to unforeseen progress or challenges facing the company. If you don’t stay flexible and adjust with the times, your competitors will outpace you. Remember my favorite saying: “If you are not moving ahead, you are falling behind.”

James H. Canada is managing partner/CEO for Alliance Technologies LLC, ITEN mentor and author of “Corporate to Entrepreneur: Strategies for Success.” Contact Jim at, 636-734-2337 or

Submitted 1 years 73 days ago
Categories: categoryEntrepreneur's Toolbox
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