Critical Actions

Jan 11, 2011 in route to Chennai, India

                In my Dec 29th note I made reference to the need for understanding critical actions.

                           Critical Actions: They are those few key activities in which a

                          company, a Department, a manager, or an individual staff member

                           must have favorable results for success and distinction. Critical

                          actions are the “sine qua non”: “ without which there is nothing.”

                          If the critical actions are not achieved with distinction all the other

                          activities together will not be able to compensate for that shortcoming.

              One of my first efforts tomorrow will be helping the leaders and the players at each level begin to seek out and identify their critical actions (ca’s). CA’s are the necessary actions that drive goal completion and are the actions which require being measured and tracked.

Intuitively all leaders understand the need: one quote “If you cannot not measure it, you cannot manage it.” We all know that you cannot measure everything and even if one could measure everything, not all measures are equally important. In our automobiles there are 3 ca’s: gas level, speed, and oil pressure. If those are taken care of, for the most part the car will operate successfully.

Not all organization environments need to consider ca’s.

                      Situations were Critical Action development would

                                     not usually yield maximum success or distinction.

                          Autocratic environments: “why bother figuring out the

                               actions,”  “it is safer just to go and ask or wait to be told.”

           In a business environment where the vision or the objectives are not clear

          The objectives are routine and/or are not challenging to the organization

Additionally, under “normal conditions” and in “average business environments” only minor results would come from the effort to identify critical actions.  What would the conditions need to be to gain optimal results from identifying critical actions? Here my business understanding is “blessed” by the work of Collins in his book “Good to Great.” Organizations that want to do much better than average, that are committed to being the best of the best will benefit the most from the effort and work to understand and develop their ca’s.

More on this Saturday as I put my thoughts and words into action


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