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“What gets measured gets managed” is a popular quote attributed to Peter F. Drucker.[1] Bill Hewlett, co-founder of Hewlett Packard also reportedly said, “You cannot manage what you cannot measure…and what gets measured gets done.” I couldn’t find the original sources for either of these quotes, and if you are aware of the citations, I would appreciate it if you could send them my way. I like to verify the sources. But even if these statements were apocryphal, Drucker and Hewlett were not alone in their assessments.
In In Search of ExcellencePeters and Waterman quoted “the organization theorist Mason Haire [who] said, ‘What gets measured gets done.’”[2] Kouzes and Posner, prominent researchers in the field of leadership studies, wrote: “Recognize that what gets measured gets done.”[3] The evidence is all pointing one direction. If you want to get better at anything, track your progress.
Want to get things done? Schedule and track events on your calendar.
Want to lose weight? The Mayo Clinic suggests that you should track your progress[4] and they offer a food tracker for this very purpose.

We homeschool our children and we use a tracker as you see below to help them measure their progress.
Tracking progress does not need to be hard. You can use an excel workbook and create your own tracker based on your needs. The device we created to track homeschool work is simple enough, and the kids can follow it. Red means that they did not do their work. Yellow means it was either incomplete or poorly done. Green means it was completed properly. I rarely write or eat as well as I should, the kids like that they often do better than me and they let me know about it.
Tracking progress is motivational. Tracking progress holds people accountable.
What would happen if I didn’t track their progress? More than likely, we would get behind. Tracking your progress keeps you moving in the right direction.

What About You?

What should you be tracking? Finances? Sales leads? Contacts with your people? Are you willing to track your progress in order to improve?

References

[1] Ferriss, T. (2007). The 4-Hour work week: Escape 9-5, live anywhere, and join the new rich. New York: Crown Publishers.
[2] Peters, T. J. & Waterman R.H. (1984). In search of excellence: Lessons from America’s best-run companies. New York: Warner Books. (p. 270).
[3] Kouzes, J.M. & Posner, B. Z. (2007). The leadership challenge (3rd Ed). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. (p. 92).
[4] Learn how to track your eating habits (n.d.). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from http://diet.mayoclinic.org/diet/eat/learn-how-to-track-your-eating-habits?xid=nl_MayoClinicDiet_20180108