Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things - Drucker (again)

How do leadership and management relate to business models?  How do you distinguish between them?

For a short and snappy answer to the definition question I like Peter Drucker's quote but for something slightly more rounded I think John Kotter's explanation is the best I know.  (Kotter is THE man on change - author of Leading Change, Our iceberg is melting etc - see  For Kotter (and me) management is about

  • Planning and budgeting
  • Organising and staffing
  • Controlling and problem solving 

Good managment produces a degree of predictability and order and has potential to produce consistently the short term results expected by stakeholders.  

Leadership, on the other hand, is about

  • Establishing direction
  • Aligning people
  • Motivating and inspiring

Good leadership produces change, often to a dramatic degree, and has potential to produce extremely useful change.

In the arts in recent years we have talked a great deal about leadership but very little about management and that, for me, is a mistake.  Successful organisations need both good (preferably great) leaders and managers - the best plans and business models are nothing but dreams without the ability to execute them.  The threefold model I am developing (attractiveness, agility and ability to deliver) requires a blend of both skill sets.  Being attractive to a range of co-investors (funders, audiences and collaborators) is down primarily to leadership; being agile calls for both as it is a mixture of culture and process; the ability to deliver on your organisational promises is primarily a management challenge.

In my experience, arts organisations are full of very bright, very keen, highly intelligent and creative people often doing jobs for which they are stunningly over-qualified.  It has therefore been possible for arts organisations to 'get by' with little in the way of people management, either of the performance or development sort.  I have a sneaking feeling that this is about to change - as resources become more scarce, managing those resources well is going to matter A LOT.

Thanks for reading