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26 Oct 2015

How Different People See Quantity vs Quality Debate

People fall on the quantity vs quality debate differently. There are quantity-oriented personalities (QN) and quality-oriented ones (QL). They differ on how they solve problems and make decisions.

This impacts organizational cultures and office politics. It impacts change management and how a change management consultant works.

How QN and QL Personality Types Differ

A way to see how QN’s and QL’s differ is to look at armies and Special Forces. Armies have more soldiers. Special Forces have soldiers with more talent (video). Army soldiers have more narrowly defined skills and duties. Special Forces soldiers have more general and diverse ones.

Another way to see this is to look at the emotional triggers that drive each. Security drives QN’s. Uniqueness drives QL’s.

As a result, QN’s will criticize QL’s as making unsubstantiated decisions based on subjective views. A secure base of data is not there. QL’s will criticize QN’s decisions as incomplete, based too much on the numbers. They ignore unique factors.

Wording and Phrasing in Quantity vs Quality Debate

There are certain word usage tendencies in the quantity vs quality debate.

In the quantity vs quality debate, the two personalities show tendencies in their word usage.

It is easy to spot QN’s and QL’s. Their words and phrasing differ. The quantity vs quality debate shows up as variations on these themes:

  • More vs Better
  • Efficient vs Effective
  • Quantify vs Evaluate
  • Analyze vs See
  • Measure vs Watch

As examples:

  • QN: We had more sales.
  • QL: We had better sales.
  • QN: She is very efficient.
  • QL: She is very effective.
  • QN: Let me quantify that.
  • QL: Let me evaluate that.
  • QN: Let me analyze the numbers.
  • QL: Let me see what the numbers say.
  • QN: I’ll measure that.
  • QL: I’ll watch that.

This difference shows up in management styles. QN’s will focus more on the tangibles. QL’s the intangibles. Employees will have concerns that QN’s are too impersonal. QL’s are too subjective.

Blending Quantity and Quality

Most people are a blend of QN and QL. We see it when people look at the same data and see different things. In this sense, it is like reading tea leaves. They can say what we want them to say.

In fights over business valuations we see this blend. There are the numbers (QN), and there is the story behind them (QL). Accountants (QN) and attorneys (QL) team to present their clients’ cases. It also shows up in the use of computers in decisions, military planning and even fighting wildfires.

The people mix of QN and QL impacts decision-making processes. It impacts how the organizational culture sees the quantity vs quality debate. Accounting for it helps us overcome biases in cultures and teams.

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