The Survey Secret

Here’s a piece I wrote for Sunday’s “Boston Globe” that ran in the Ideas section. Once you realize how this
game operates, the old selective perception phenomenon will guarantee that you’ll start seeing
examples of these sponsored or promotional surveys all over the media landscape. You will also start to think about how they can work for your company.

After I filed this piece I came across an annual survey done by the consulting firm Booz Allen about CEO tenure and other related issues. The survey found that brand-name, outsider CEOs do great for a couple of years, then flame out. This is valuable stuff, and the fact that Booz Allen does it for PR visibility and hence commercial gain doesn’t mitigate that. In fact, it could be argued that rigorous, sponsored surveys provide insights that would otherwise remain uncaptured and unrecognized.