What gets measured, gets managed - really?

What gets measured, gets managed” is a well-worn, even clichéd, quote from the 1950s, by well-known management consultant Peter Drucker.

But is it true?

Does everything being measured actually get managed?

Or do these things just get pointed at? Or, even worse, merely used to hit people over the head with?


It is all too easy to select a measurement without any real understanding of how you effect change on that measure. This is especially common in Customer Experience (but is equally prevalent in many other service measures).

Take Net Promoter Score (NPS) for example. NPS is a brand measure which is great to use as a comparison with other competitors, but how easy is it to align to your business? How easy is it for your teams to know what changes need to be made to improve this score? I know people have been able to achieve improvement, but in reality, they usually do so by spending a huge amount of time and resources mapping and evaluating the data and crowbarring the results into activities.

The world has moved on since 1954. Collaboration and independent thinking within teams are much more evident and embedded, and the rights to good ideas are no longer owned by management teams.

If you want the measures you use to really live and breathe within your business, you need to think about the following:

1. Are you measuring the outcomes that align with your business strategy or the reason why you exist?

2. Do you know what good looks like?

3. Do you know what actions you will take if the measures are worse than you expect?

4. Do you know what actions you will take if the measures are better than you expect?

5. Do your colleagues know the answers to the questions above?

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