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It sounds so easy &ldots; implement a leadership direction with a management approach to achieve winning success. The combination of leadership with management leads to success because the vision and strategy is backed up with the planning, budgeting, and operations to see the vision achieved. 

Leadership incorporates a lifelong learning style. 

Management is the traditional form within an organization that helps provide an infrastructure in finance, operations, technology, and administration. The management team backs up the vision and strategy implemented by the CEO. 

Previously, organizations were run by the "old school" style of management – they were hierarchical. Management used planning, budgeting, organization, and problem solving skills. 

These skills are still needed, but it’s the new school of leadership, which includes the vision, strategy, communications, and empowerment, that allows the entire company to participate in its growth and development. Leadership skills are acquired over a lifetime by gaining knowledge and sharing it to enhance the organization’s full potential.

A leader inspires trust, focuses on people, and has a long-range perspective. He or she challenges the status quo and uses creativity to define the vision. A leader is able to anticipate the future and allow for developments in technologies and changes in the marketplace or the global economy.


A vision…

  • Defines a common direction and is not static;
  • Is a realistic destination projected into the future;
  • Incorporates the desired result;
  • Addresses all critical issues;
  • Considers constraints associated with the vision, i.e.  people, time, or geography;
  • Understands the range of possible outcomes;
  • Is based on foresight, insight, experience, imagination,  information, and values;
  • Communicates when the vision is achieved.

To be an effective leader you must inspire and motivate excellence and achievement through integrity, high ideals, and empowering those within the organization. Solicit and listen to the input of others to ensure that the ideas are feasible and that there is good support for the goals and direction.

Insight is crucial to the development of a business strategy. The mission and vision of the company fuels the strategist to find creative solutions. Strategists rely on careful analysis of the competition to find a way to make their product or service succeed. A strategy is creative and intuitive. By taking different points of view on the customer, competition, and the company, and combining those aspects with a healthy dose of creativity and intuition, a strategy can be achieved.
A business strategy refers to the plan to achieve a competitive advantage. A business strategy takes resources into account. It also considers the advantage it has over competitors – such as the size of the company or the ability of its house teams. 

When a leader communicates the vision, everyone will know what the organization is striving for and what the definition of success is. Success can be defined differently within organizations. Some organizations may define success as high market penetration with a large team to implement the vision, while others measure success in revenues using a small team approach. How success is measured is communicated in the vision statement.

Communicating the vision ensures that the entire company will know the goals and objectives of the organization. Cisco has always been clear on the vision of the organization. John Chambers was quoted recently as saying, "Everybody here knows what we want to accomplish." Chambers makes sure that everyone in the organization knows where the organization is headed so that there is no confusion. 

As Jim Broadhead, the CEO of Florida Power and Light said, "It’s virtually impossible to communicate too much. I’ve never heard a single employee anywhere complain that he or she is being kept too informed."

The effective leader allows people to blossom, make mistakes, test themselves, and grow. By empowering people and trusting in them, they are reaching their potential and are able to contribute to the overall success of the organization.
Management focuses on systems and structure and how the business operates. Management builds the infrastructure that supports the vision and strategy of leadership. The project scheduling, budgeting, improvement of production methods, and operational assistance on workloads have been around for some time, but when used with innovative and inclusive leadership, the winning formula ensures a correct course.

Once the vision is established, the management team can work with the CEO to develop a plan to reach the target. This could take many forms such as the business, marketing, or operational plan. The plan sets a course to lead the organization to the vision and strategy developed by the CEO. Strategic partnerships are developed to broaden the range of experience the company can provide. 

Budgeting refers to the quantifying of the plan. It is working with a profit and loss statement to determine whether the income of the business will offset the associated expenses. The cash flow statement is then generated to determine what the future will look like with the associated revenues and expenses. This area of the business also focuses on payroll, tax filings, and banking relationships.

Operations support the goals and objectives of the leader. In a small business, they carry out the day-to-day efforts specified in the plan. They work to clear the way for the leader to focus on the vision and strategy by dealing with attorneys to put contracts in place, addressing any hiring needs, instituting a benefit package, working with vendors, addressing insurance needs, ensuring that the physical space is efficient, and generally keeping the business running efficiently but pitching in and doing whatever is necessary to continue moving toward the vision.

The Yankee Group, a professional research firm, has said that two-thirds of today’s businesses are crippled by not linking the processes of the front to the back office environments. Only 10% of all businesses find their way to legendary fame and fortune. Operations can consist of internal, as well as external, support to players within and vendors outside the company. 

Operational improvements can increase profitability, improve quality, and use resources more efficiently. With operational assistance, leaders can better focus on the vision to move the product more quickly to market.

The reason many high tech companies have succeeded in the marketplace is due to the ability to adapt to change in a highly competitive marketplace. These organizations have flat hierarchies, little bureaucracy, a tolerance for risk taking, and a workforce that can manage itself. This frees up leadership to focus on client projects, development of technology, and customer service. 

Management methods have been around for some time. It is the nimble, quick-witted leader with a vision and direction and is supported by strong management who makes the best use of the winning formula.

This Business article was written by Ann Estabrooks on 2/11/2005

Ann Estabrooks is the founder of Catapulta, LLC, a business development consultancy based in Raleigh, North Carolina. She can be reached via or by phone at 919-556-6119. Her website is