How well does your organization translate qualitative measures into quantitative metrics?

SmartPulse -- our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership -- tracks feedback from more than 220,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our newsletter.

How well does your organization translate qualitative measures into quantitative metrics?

  • Very -- Every qualitative measure has hard metrics to support it.: 10.5%
  • Somewhat -- Some qualitative measures have metrics; others don’t.: 49.4%
  • Not at all -- We don’t translate qualitative measures to metrics.: 40.1%

You can’t manage what you don’t measure. Often there’s a temptation to say, “Well, it’s a qualitative measure, so we don’t need a metric for it.” With that mindset, you’ll be hard-pressed to figure out if you’re having the impact you desire or if you have surprising problems lurking out of sight. The vast majority of qualitative measures can have quantitative metrics associated with them. Determine which metrics are indicators of the qualitative measure, and track those. While the correlation won’t be perfect, you’ll at least have a gauge of progress and early warning of possible issues before they occur.

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS. Before launching his own company, he worked at McKinsey & Co., Capital One and Scotts Miracle-Gro. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He's the author of three leadership books: "One Piece of Paper," "Lead Inside the Box" and "The Elegant Pitch."