Leaders Should Lead, not just Execute

16 years ago John Kotter wrote an article in Harvard Business Review titled What Leaders Really Do. In the article, he makes the point that Leadership is about coping with change, and that Management is about coping with complexity. Great leaders make sure they’re doing both.

A Stanford professor has recently written an eye-opening article that comes to a similar conclusion using Microsoft and Apple as examples. In both cases, the companies replaced visionary leaders (Gates and Jobs) with excellent executors (Ballmer and Cook). But flawless execution doesn’t lead to groundbreaking innovation or to new and valuable markets. And a focus on implementation can sacrifice future opportunities for short term results.

How are you balancing leading vs. managing?