Peter Drucker and the Greatest Quarterback of All Time

Pete Weishaupt
2 min readJun 5, 2022

“What gets measured gets managed.” ~ Peter Drucker

Nearly everyone reading this post has probably heard the phrase, “What gets measured gets managed.” at some point in their career; and with loving attribution to Peter Drucker.

Let’s take a brief look at “measurement” when it comes to sports:

In a blog post titled Valuation of Business and People is an Art Form, Paul Lountzis says assessing both businesses and leaders under a broad range of both quantitative and qualitative factors is truly an art form.

To illustrate the complexity, he points to an NFL Scouting Report used on a quarterback in the 2000 NFL Draft. Paul lists some of the comments from the report:

  • One of the slowest quarterbacks ever timed in the 40-yard dash (5.2 seconds)
  • Very poor vertical jump measurement
  • Lacks great physical stature and strength
  • Lacks mobility and the ability to avoid the rush
  • System type player who can get exposed if forced to ad lib
  • Lacks a strong arm and does not throw a really tight spiral, cannot drive the ball down field
  • Poor build, skinny, gets knocked down easily

That ‘turd’ on paper turned out to be Tom Brady. He was the 199th player chosen, drafted in the 6th round of the 2000 NFL Draft. Six quarterbacks were chosen ahead of him.

Paul says it’s really hard to determine the qualities and characteristics that lead to success and recognizing those qualities that make people and businesses unique is very, very difficult.

And this brings us back to our opening quote so often misattributed to Peter Drucker. The entire quote reads: “What gets measured gets managed — even when it’s pointless to measure and manage it, and even if it harms the purpose of the organization to do so.”

The original quote comes from a 1956 paper by VF Ridgeway titled Dysfunctional Consequences of Performance Measurement.

This isn’t to say that metrics don’t matter, but you better be sure they’re the right metrics. And even then, they don’t always align to the true value of what’s being measured.