Cyprus Mail

Executive Excellence: A fabulous new book lays to rest the leader/manager dilemma

Blank bookcover with clipping path

By Dimis Michaelides

Over the years the volume of business literature in English has grown exponentially and the content in fashion takes constant twists and turns.

Depending on the times different buzzwords, acronyms and abbreviations have their heydays before fizzling out – witness scientific management, the four Ps, the S-curve, re-engineering, quality circles, excellence, CRM, KPIs, SWOT, PESTEL, benchmarking, process-mapping, business models, digitalisation, disruption, emotional intelligence, soft skills and many more.

The leader/manager dilemma came to centre stage in the last 40 years with the realisation that management and leadership in organisations are quite different things. It is in this context that the most comprehensive business book to ever come out of Cyprus was born of the teamwork of Nicos and Koralia Timotheou.

“Executive Intelligence – Combine Leadership and Management to Create and Deliver Value” is an impressive publication of nearly 400 pages, meticulously indexed and referenced that serves both as a practical guide and as a treasure trove for executives in organisations. Its basic premise is that successful organisations are bound to create and deliver value to their stakeholders and they do this by organisational, management and leadership excellence. I will highlight three aspects that make this book exceptional.

First, the breadth and depth of the subject matter. The book covers the art, the science, the philosophy, the technical and human aspects of management and a very broad array of themes. The part on organisational excellence affords careful detail to processes and sub-processes, projects, programmes and people, big change and small change and the many different issues that call for good management. Successful executives, argue the authors, must manage strategy and structure, change and culture, performance and governance, operations and marketing, branding and service, core and support processes and much more.

Second, the sources, which are drawn from published business know-how as well as from personal experience – Nicos was CEO of Cyta during its best years and Koralia worked for many years as a consultant in a big-four firm. The authors have clearly devoted much time to learning, absorbing and mastering a tremendous variety of methods, tools and techniques. They appreciate stakeholders’ interests first hand and recognise that keeping them aligned is a key to success. For this, both good processes and shared vision and values at the top (board, CEO, senior management) and at lower levels (departments, teams) are crucial.

Finally, on that leader/manager issue, the authors are not content with providing a long list of key characteristics of managers compared to leaders (which they do too). They have a clear view that leadership and management roles are different though intertwined and that successful executives must exercise both roles skilfully. They argue that

“Successful executives are seldom born with charisma. They are self-made through hard work continuous learning, perseverance and self-discipline.”

and that

“Management without leadership is a recipe for mediocrity, whereas leadership without management is a recipe for disaster.”

This is surely a must-have for executives in Cyprus and internationally. It can serve as a source of deep reflection on the diverse roles and responsibilities of leaders and managers. It can serve as a manual to be consulted at challenging moments in any executive’s career. And, notwithstanding my opening comment on changing fashions in business literature, its wise advice will be relevant and valuable for years to come.

“Executive Intelligence – Combine Leadership and Management to Create and Deliver Value” © by Nicos and Koralia Timotheou (Rethink Press, 2019)

Available on Amazon in print and Kindle form

Book presentation open to the public at the amphitheatre of the Cultural Centre of the European University (event in Greek) on September 30 at 18.30


Dimis Michaelides is a keynote speaker and author on innovation, creativity and leadership. He also offers workshops and change management consulting for private businesses, NGOs and public organisations. His book “The Art of Innovation – Integrating Creativity in Organisations” has been hailed as a “Bible for 21st Century CEOs” [email protected]

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