1. Management is about organising, resourcing and controlling. It deals with physical assets. Good management does not just enable a business to be efficient. Without the proper allocation of resources, it cannot execute any strategy.
2. Leadership is about motivating people to perform a task, building a team and developing individuals. Good leadership defines the task and enables people to perform it better than they would have done had the leader not been there. Without leadership, strategy would fail at the first difficulty.
3. Directing is about developing strategy, building the organisational capability to execute it and giving direction. It is primarily an intellectual challenge. Without good direction a business will lose its cohesion and become a victim of circumstances.
4. No one element is more important than any other. They overlap and many executives will be called upon to do all three. In the course of a career, we all begin as leaders, have to learn to act as managers as we take on responsibility for departments and finally if we become senior executives, learn the skills of directing.
5. When we are directing we need to be dispassionate and realistic. If we act like a leader we will court the danger of imagining we can do the impossible just by trying harder, and wreck the organisation.
The most neglected of all the critical skills of an executive is giving direction
6. When we are leading we need to be engaged and enthusiastic. If we act like directors we will appear to be remote and uncertain. We will demotivate and perhaps even demoralise people and performance will flag.
7. The most neglected single skill is the art of giving direction. Developing a strategy is not enough. We have to put it across to individuals and the organisation as a whole. Doing so well is difficult, and requires practice. It is the point at which successful execution begins.