What Are Your Key Success Factors (KSFs)? Do They Align with Your Mission?

intentional practices mission. vision. values oversight and accountability: measurement roles and responsibilities Jul 20, 2021
What Are Your Key Success Factors?


"If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there."


"If you don’t know where you are going, how will you know when you have arrived?"


Clichés, yes. But there are some elements of truth too.


Your destination will be reflected in your mission. Your mission is your overarching goal and intent. It is what drives your organization and gives it purpose.


It would follow then, that your key success factors are aligned with your mission.


But here is a troubling point.


I have led many sessions with boards, and it is rare (in fact, never) that board members agree on the key success factors for a signature program let alone the organization as a whole.


I am preferring the term Key Success Factors (KSFs) here rather than the more common Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) as it raises the vantage point somewhat. KSFs focus on outcomes and impact. KPIs tend to focus on inputs and outputs.

What are your KSFs?


  • Do you agree on them?
  • Do they focus on impact (beneficial effect on your community) rather than simple outputs (raw number attending a program)?
  • Do they align with and advance your mission?
  • Are they written and measured? When? By whom? How often?
    Do you have policy on organizational performance?
  • And… if they aren’t measured, do they really matter?


Determining your Key Success Factors is critical to your organizational health.


There should be agreement on them around the table and they should be documented.


It is the only way that you as a board can monitor and evaluate the organization’s impact.


It is the only way you can report to funders and donors and your members about your performance.


Having said that, measurement should not be more time consuming and more expensive than the program or service itself. (It has happened!)

How do you measure over time, or from time to time?

How do you “dip stick” (quick and easy measurement)?


You are responsible and accountable.

How well are you doing?

How do you know?


What are your main “pain points” dealing with measuring outcomes? What advice would be most helpful to you? And we always assume that you are asking for a friend!


Get in touch. We’ll address your questions and concerns in an upcoming blog post.



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You can get more of our thoughts on Facebook and LinkedIn. Join our Facebook Group for Executive Directors and Board members: Governance as Leadership


We are currently addressing these 10 Critical Questions Boards Need to Ask Themselves:

Why are you here?

Who is your employee?

3 What is your role?

Why are you meeting?

How do you ensure sustainable resources?

6 What are your KSFs?

7 How do you manage risk?

8 How do you ensure transparency?

9 How do you foster a culture of inquiry and assessment?

10 How do you continue to improve?

See our other blog posts for more insights.


May I ask a tiny favour? 

Would you mind sharing this blog with one person? I would love it. You can post the links in your Facebook Groups, LinkedIn or even send an email.  

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