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Robert Simons, Professor of Business at Harvard Business School, has written a compelling article in Harvard Business Review this past month. I love it for its simplistic nature and the richness by drilling down into meaty content. As many of my clients are aggressively moving toward a strong Q4 finish and planning for FY11, thinking about these questions will help to keep us focused on seven critical success factors:
- Who are our primary customers?
- How do our core values prioritize shareholders, employees, and customers?
- What critical performance variables are we tracking?
- What strategic boundaries have we set?
- How are we generating creative tension amongst our team?
- How committed are our employees to helping each other?
- What strategic uncertainties keep us awake at night?
The call to action is unmistakable. It can be extremely powerful to engage in thoughtful debate with our teams in the trenches relative to the leading and lagging data indicators, the unproven assumptions, and how to make those really hard calls – those judgments which can make us chumps or champions. Then, collectively with our team in the boat with us, we can answer the questions Simons’ propose and be more confident that we are indeed heading in the right direction.