How well-defined are your organization’s prioritization criteria for investments and projects?

SmartPulse -- our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership -- tracks feedback from over 240,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our newsletter.

How well-defined are your organization’s prioritization criteria for investments and projects?

  • Our criteria are very well defined and clear: 23%
  • We have some criteria but they’re a bit loose: 25%
  • We have few criteria and they’re mostly financial: 29%
  • We have no formal criteria defined: 23%

Criteria for fit focuses efforts. While it’s great to see many of you have criteria for investments and projects, the bigger question is how rigorously are they used to assess project fit. Without a proper balance of qualitative and quantitative criteria, you run the risk of pursuing non-strategic but financially attractive ideas. Long-term that can result in a muddied strategy. Push for clarification of what your strategic investment filters are. When you achieve a balanced set of criteria, you’ll have a better-balanced portfolio of ideas you’re pursuing that is also more consistent with your long-term strategy. For those of you without any criteria, it’s time to speak up and push to instill some rigor in your investments.

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."