"What gets measured gets done." That quote, oftenattributed to Peter Drucker, is used frequently (I have used it many times, myself.) when talking about performance improvement. However, it would be more correct to say, "Some things that get measured get done." We measure student academic performance in schools, but it doesn't improve the quality of teaching and schools for most kids. We measure every aspect of the health of Americans, but it doesn't change access and quality of care for most Americans. Toyota has been the benchmark company for measuring quality of its products and processes, but it failed to ensure the safety of its brakes. And employee trainers have been "measuring" training since Frederick Winslow Taylor walked around the plant floor with a clipboard at the beginning of the last century, but training is still only about 10% to 20% effective.

Measurement is not the problem per se (although I agree that there is much room for improvement in how we measure learning and performance in organizations). The problem is the lack of will to use data to continuously improve systems and the lack of a process to interpret and apply data for continuous improvement. If you watched the new reality TV show “Undercover Boss” after the Super Bowl last night, you saw Waste Management CEO Larry O’Donnell discovering that some of his policies are barriers to a positive and productive work culture in his organization. WM is one of the leading companies in measuring performance and improving efficiency. They measure everything. What they weren’t doing was using that data to do what needed to be done.