Key success factors state the important elements required for a company to compete in its target markets. In effect, it articulates what the company must do, and do well, to achieve the goals outlined in its strategic plan.

1 – Strategic Focus

Strategic focus requires identifying a desired end state, considering all of the impacts (positive and negative) that might affect its achievement.

It requires developing strategies to achieve results.

Its primary purpose is to connect three key areas:

Your mission – defining the purpose of your business.

Your vision – what is it that you want to achieve.

Your business plan – outlining how you want to achieve your ultimate goals.

What are the factors that make up Strategic Focus:

  • Purpose is expressed by way of vision and mission statements. A vision statement is a picture of what you want your organization to be in the future. A mission statement is what you must do to achieve that vision.
  • The mission sets out stretch goals that are achievable. Good stretch goals stretch your organization to perform at its best but not “break” under too much stress and pressure. The best goals are SMART goals – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timeous. It is your job as a leader to stretch your team to its highest performance.
  • Focus on a sustainable competitive advantage. Concentrate all your resources on your strengths, which competitors cannot match while focusing on target markets you can dominate. This advantage must be sustainable in that it is rooted in who you are and what you do best.
  • Must be a customer-driven and customer-centric organisation . Focus on what the customer values most. The best results by far are achieved with an objective market research survey.
  • Must be passionate about your core values. Core values are powerful statements of what you and your team passionately believe is most important in your business. They need to be authentic and leadership needs to be seen to be committed to these values.
  • All goals must be supported by a clear strategic plan. A goal is only as good as its plan to achieve it. These specific strategies need to be translated into tactics – what are we going to do , who is going to be responsible, how are we going to measure progress, and where is the work being done.
  • All goals must be measured in terms of progress and activities. Keep your goals simple and in line with key strategies. A system guiding daily actions generates measurements, data, that can be used as feedback to continuously improve as well as to hit those stretch goals.
  • Future plans are updated at least annually and communicated internally. While it is ideal to update your strategic action plans continuously as situations change, at least once a year set aside time for a major review from top to bottom – values, vision, mission, goals, strategies, tactics. Once you reach your first stretch goals, set another to enable you to continue to stretch further and achieve more.

Strategic focus is just one part of a series of success factors which are all aligned together in a strategic management system.

My next article will address what is a Strategic / Business Plan and the components thereof.