Why Most Surveys Suck – But Yours Don’t Have To: Part I

Before you’ve written your first survey question, you’ve identified a need for which conducting a survey is the answer. But have you envisioned what you want the survey to accomplish? Deciding to conduct a survey doesn’t happen on its own — nor should it, because planning a successful survey takes thoughtful preparation, execution, and follow through. Follow this blog series to learn why most surveys suck and to discover how you can start launching successful surveys.  

surveys suckDr. Stephen R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People suggests beginning with the end in mind, and this habit lends itself particularly well to surveys. When you think about anything in life, surveys included, spend some time thinking about the end. As applied to surveys, the end doesn’t simply mean reaching the end of the actual survey, but rather understanding and reaching the goal. Otherwise, what’s the point?

Have you thought about your survey goal? If your goal is limited to “obtain data” and “run the numbers” you haven’t put in the work. “Data-driven decisions” comes off sounding like jargon when it’s an empty idea — just like “shifting the paradigm” and “creating synergy” used to pop up when nobody had a clue what to do. Worse, if you’re planning a survey to check off the compliance box, you’re probably just wasting everyone’s time.

Planning a survey to check off the compliance box? You’re probably just wasting everyone’s time. Click To Tweet

The end goal of any survey activity should be to strengthen an existing relationship or to start a new relationship. When you haven’t thought beyond the goal of simply collecting data, your survey will fail. Surveys fail for three reasons: Trust Deficit, Gi-Go-itis, and Tunnel Vision.

Follow this series as we explore each reason surveys fail and provide suggestions and tips for conducting successful surveys. Check out Part II!