What gets measured gets…

Adam Schorr
Rule No. 1
Published in
3 min readSep 20, 2022


Metrics. A topic near and dear to everyone’s heart. Well, maybe not so dear.

I suppose businesses need metrics. If we don’t measure anything, then we’re probably left with nothing more than our subjective impressions. Which benefits a few lucky people to the detriment of everyone else.

But the problem with metrics is that we often let them guide our behavior. Which, of course, is precisely the point of having metrics. But what if your metrics are wrong?

Following metrics is like following a god. The more religiously you follow, the more you win the game of life — if you chose the right god. But if you chose the wrong one, your life may be horribly stupid and absurd — and it will be even more so the more faithful you were.

Metrics are dangerous. What if you’re measuring the wrong things? Or measuring the right things using the wrong tool? Or interpreting the results incorrectly?

Yeah yeah, you read the famous Peter Drucker maxim that what gets measured gets managed. That statement has become, dare I say, an article of faith amongst business leaders. (See what I did there?) Now let’s leave aside that according to the Drucker Institute, Peter Drucker never said it. There’s a bigger problem…

It’s total bullshit!

Want me to prove it? Sure. Thanks for asking.

I’ve raised three terrific kids (ages 23, 25, 29) and have a wonderful, loving, fulfilling relationship with my wife (we’ve been together 13 years). And not once did I ever measure anything. I didn’t define any metrics. I conducted no focus groups. Ran no quantitative studies. I don’t use one of those devices they have at the airport bathroom where you can rate how satisfied you were with the cleanliness. Nothing.

Lest you think I’m bragging about my life skills, I’m willing to bet that you, too, have had great successes in your personal life without the help of metrics.

The day after you give your spouse a gift do you send a satisfaction survey?

Have you run a conjoint study to optimize the set of personal attributes you display to the world?

Do you even know what NPS score your friends give you?

Of course not. Somehow, we manage to navigate relationships with friends and life partners, support our families, be there for our loved ones, and generally live our lives without defined metrics and a market research department.

It’s only at work that we feel incapable of putting one foot in front of the other without metrics.

My goal here is not to have you toss all your metrics in the trash. My goal is for you to carefully consider what you’re measuring and the intended and unintended consequences of the actions you take based on metrics. My goal is to raise the level of skepticism and lower the level of religious faith in metrics.

Metrics are important. Too important to get wrong.

When you look at your company’s system of metrics, are you sure it’s right?


Because too often — driven by human psychology and organizational dynamics — to choose a set of metrics is to choose a god. And that’s not a choice you want to make poorly.



Adam Schorr
Rule No. 1

Passionately in search of people who are themselves