Lessons from the Pharaohs – critical success factors linked to strategy

Growth challenges, imperatives, vision, culture, values and objectives form the basis of any business strategy. The approach used in the commercial world of today is similar to that used by the kings and queens of ancient Egypt thousands of years ago.

The Pharaoh’s vision to build the perfect pyramid was arguably the most important element of his construction strategy. To people inside and outside the kingdom, his vision statement was the compass, showing the whole world the focus of his people’s endeavours over the lifespan of the journey.

In the business world, many people reading or hearing about an organisation’s compelling ‘Vision’ for the first time will often comment and ask the question, ‘Looks great but how will we achieve the Vision?’.

The production of ‘critical success factors’ offer the answer to this question, highlighting in simplistic terms the most important areas of day-to-day focus of employees in the organisation.

Some of the areas are fairly obvious, for example sales, marketing, financial control, etc., but many are not, as each organisation has a unique dimension to its way of working and succeeding in the future. Information technology is important to some organisations and less so to others. Government legislation is vitally important to organisations with public sector clients but is often less important to private-sector-focused businesses.

In order to be successful in realising the long-term vision for any business each factor should be linked to the development of what we call ‘Strategic Objectives’; these are important business goals that specify what is needed by the organisation to achieve the vision.

Critical success factors and the link with the strategic objectives form an important part of the overall business strategy for your organisation on the growth journey.

The Pharaoh’s critical success factors

In answering the question on the Pharaoh’s Pyramid building journey ‘How will the pyramid be built?’ the answer was contained in a simple document and would have appeared something like this.

1. FOOD AND WATER SUPPLY

‘To provide the people of Egypt with a continuous supply of food and water’

2. UNIQUE EGYPTIAN CULTURE

‘To maintain the unique traditions of the Egyptian culture throughout all aspects of our society’

3. SECURITY OF THE KINGDOM

‘To maintain the security of the country against our neighbouring states and potential enemies’

4. FUTURE TRADE

‘To increase the level of trade enjoyed with other countries’

5. WEALTH AND PROSPERITY

‘To ensure that the Kingdom retains its status as the wealthiest nation in the world’

6. HEALTH AND SAFETY

‘To provide the necessary resources and support required to ensure the continued well being of the Egyptian people’

7. LANDMARK ACHIEVEMENT

‘To ensure that all agreed landmarks are achieved in the building of the Pyramid’

8. SUPPORT OF THE GODS

‘To make every effort to worship and engage the support of our Gods’

9. RESOURCES

‘To provide the necessary tools, equipment and resources throughout the Pyramid building journey’

10. ATTENTION TO DETAIL

‘To maintain high standards of work throughout all aspects of the Pyramid construction’

11. TRANSPORT

‘To produce routes which will enable the efficient transportation of goods and materials throughout the Kingdom’

The vision and strategic objectives were then used to inspire confidence in the project. The information explained in simple terms what was needed to deliver the construction project on time.

The eleven areas of focus were then linked to the development of expected personal objectives and behaviour for each person’s role on the journey.

Lessons from the Pharaohs

Business leaders can learn many lessons from the approach used by the Pharaohs.

Identifying and formalising your own organisation’s critical success factors and strategic objectives is important to the delivery of your business growth strategy, as this enables every person connected with your business to understand where they fit into the company’s plans for growth.

It also helps define each person’s personal contribution on the business growth journey.

Your employees’ personal and team targets, objectives and key performance indicators can then be linked to all, or some, of these strategic objectives.

Finally

Aligning strategy to operational performance is important to delivering success on the business growth journey.

The simple approach to simplifying business strategy highlighted above enables leaders to cascade the vision of the organisation to everyone connected with the business including suppliers, partners, stakeholders and others.

It worked for the great Pharaohs. It will work for you.

Best wishes on your business growth journey, wherever it may take you.

John Stein – Founder of the winning (formula)®

‘Old World, New World and the Real World’ is available from Amazon or from our website www.the-winning-formula.com

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This entry was posted on Friday, June 28th, 2013 at 9:50 pm and is filed under Business Strategy, Lessons from the Pharaohs, The Business Growth Journey, the winning formula. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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