Issue #35 February 2018

Hello 2018!

I read an article recently by Craig James from Commsec, who identified the following as issues expected to influence the Australian economy over 2018:

  1. US president Donald Trump.
  2. How long will inflation stay low?
  3. The disconnect between jobs and wages.
  4. Housing: hard landing or soft landing?
  5. Infrastructure.
  6. The economic benefit of lower taxes.
  7. Consumer debt.
  8. The “slowdown” of the Chinese economy.

One month into 2018 and stock markets are already reacting to the connection between inflation, jobs and wages. The Queensland Government is forecasting growth over the next few years, with growth being driven by government infrastructure spending and private capex.
While growth means more jobs, it is likely that after a prolonged period of minimal wage increases, a tightening jobs market will create greater competition for skilled workers. This is an outcome that could impact small businesses lacking the resources to match pay offers from elsewhere.
The real concern is that wage increases will lead to increased inflation, which could see the RBA pushing up interest rates and so placing greater pressure on households already suffering mortgage stress. It seems economists generally agree this is the biggest economic risk we face over the next 12 months.
Overall, it seems that 2018 will reflect Harry S. Truman’s preference for one-armed economists, because on one hand the economic outlook seems positive while on the other there are real down-side risks.

Critical Success Factors (CSFs)

Critical Success Factors are defined as “the limited number of areas in which satisfactory results will ensure successful competitive performance for the individual, department, organisation or project”. Identifying CSFs is a key element of effective strategic management. Success in identifying the CSFs for your business or organisation is to determine what is central to its future and the achievement of that future.
Identifying CSF’s is important, as it allows organisations to focus on building their capabilities to meet these CSF’s - or possibly to decide if they have the capability to build requirements for meeting CSFs. In smaller businesses or projects, it is important to keep things simple and remember there are likely only five to seven CSFs that apply.
Identifying CSFs is not a new management concept and can be applied across a range of activities from sporting teams to major corporations. It can also be applied to individuals and teams as much as it can be applied to high-level strategic planning processes and achieving goals.
CSFs for individual businesses usually vary across industry groups and within industries, but generally fall into the following six categories:
  1. People – availability, skills and attitude
  2. Resources – People, equipment, etc.
  3. Innovation – ideas and development
  4. Marketing – supplier relation, customer satisfaction, etc.
  5. Operations – continuous improvement, quality
  6. Finance- cash flow, available investment etc.

Interested in developing CSFs for your organisation? Balfour Consulting can provide the advice and support you need.

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