Operational Leadership

Operational leadership

The job of top management

Dick Hackborn (who led H-P into the printer business)  gave the best definition of the job of top management we ever found: "The job of top management is to see the waves of the future and make the company ride them".

Both seeing and riding waves are extremely difficult tasks – as we see in the history of companies: a history of waves seen and well ridden and of waves not seen or not mastered.

Operational leadership: Leading execution of the operational plan

We use the term strategy in the sense of Sarv Singh Soin (in his book “Total Quality Essentials” he calls it business planning): Designing a business strategy is a set of steps (analysis and decision) to see waves and plan how to ride them.

Chapter 6 of this model is the operational plan – defining who will do what to achieve process performance resulting in the business achieving its operational goal(s).

10 minutes video: Dieter Legat "About Operational Leadership"

(You are welcome to download a copy of the pictures of this presentation)


Operational company management

  • Operational planning and leadership of revenue generating units - companies, business units, divisions
  • Operational planning and leadership of start ups
  • Operational leadership of mergers and acquisitions

Operational sales leadership (Chief sales officer's task)

  • Operational planning and leadership of sales units - geographical sales, sales channels, key account sales, must win opportunities

Operational product line management

  • Either in hierarchical or in matrix responsibilities

Operational supply chain management

  • Manufacturing, logistics/installation consisting of one single or separated units
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