The purpose of a business is to deliver products or services to customers and that means you have to understand how to do it. If you want to start a plumbing business, you need to understand how to plumb. You need to organize and manage yourself and, if you want the business to grow, you need to manage other plumbers. Managing is concerned with handling complexity in processes and the execution of work. Back in the nineteenth century Max Fayol defined the five functions of management as planning, organizing, commanding, coordinating and controlling. Today, these sound very much like the skills needed to lead a communist-style command economy. Fayol’s work outlined how these functions required certain skills which could be taught and developed systematically in people. Management on a day-to-day basis is about detail and logic. It is about efficiency and effectiveness. It involves being able to prioritize activities and decide which is more important than another. These priorities vary from business to business, and prioritization is a question of judgement. Nevertheless, it is vital that you are able to do this and, ultimately, compile a list of critical success factors (CSFs) - things that are essential to get right if the business is to achieve its mission; things that make or break the success of the strategy (e.g. getting a website up and running on time).
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