Comprehensive Tips to Find Meaningful KPIs for Intangible Goals

by Stacey Barr |

This is a digest of all that I’ve written so far on how to make intangible goals measurable. So if you have qualitative, intangible, vague, or any seemingly immeasurable goal, these tips will help!

The following tips are extracted from several articles I’ve written on the Measure Up blog, on fixing the problem of measuring intangible goals.

Tip #1: Make sure you have a real goal. We often confuse actions and milestones as goals, but they’re not. True goals are results-oriented.

Tip #2: Test if your goal really is measurable. The way we write goals is often part of the problem of finding meaningful KPIs. So test your goal before you look for a measure, with these 3 tests:

Tip #3: Ditch the weasel words. All of them.continue writing and speaking about weasel words because organisations are still using them to write the goals they’re tying to meaningfully measure!

Tip #4: Word the goal so a 10-year-old can understand it. It’s not about dumbing-down our goals. It’s about making sure they can be understood accurately. These tools can help:

Tip #5: The owner of the goal should design the KPI for it. Leaders often delegate the KPI design to subordinates. And the result is a lot of wasted time for a set of KPIs no-one really owns.

Tip #6: Follow an example. Here’s one for workforce capability: And here’s one for diversity:

Tip #7: If you’re still stuck, your strategy design process might be the problem. If a goal was conceived poorly, it’s not going to ever be meaningfully measurable.

Then, when your goal is worded measurably, you can design a KPI for it more easily. Here’s how:


Do you have a good example of an intangible goal that you made measurable?

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