Leadership: The Discipline of Doing

By Dr. Terry Jackson

Updated Over a Week Ago

Minute Read

The discipline of doing. “Leadership is demonstrated at the moment of need. You learn to be a leader by acting, by doing” – Carlos Ghosn

Business expert and professor Peter Drucker was once quoted as saying, “You can either take action or you can hang back and hope for a miracle. Miracles are great, but they are so unpredictable.”

Drucker was saying that you must take action in order to make things happen. Doing is at the heart of leading.

Authentic Self

Leaders often try to model themselves after their mentors or predecessors. They talk like them, walk like them, and sometimes they even try to think like them. At times, this may succeed.

However, real leadership is being and doing.

Being is a very important element of a leader. It mandates that a leader has command of who they are and what they stand for.

Being also means that a leader has to be their authentic self. While a leader must have knowledge of personal mastery, a leader must also possess four critical skill sets:

  • Visioning
  • Influencing
  • Implementing
  • Executing


The ability to see trends of the future or create new trends must be a part of the skill set of a leader if they are to lead successfully.

The skill set that enables a leader to do this is called Visioning. By definition, Visioning means “having an unusual competence in discernment, intelligent foresight, and the ability to see mental images produced by the imagination.”

A leader must be able to see into the future and decide which direction to lead the organization. They must see the future landscape of products, services, and human capital needs.

One of the most important questions a leader can ask themselves during the “Visioning” phase is, “WHAT IF.”

The “WHAT IF” question opens a leader to a world of infinite scenarios to ponder.


The ability to influence another person is paramount in the life of a leader.

Whether the influence is direct or indirect does not matter. What matters is a person has been influenced to act as the leader needs and wants them to act.

Influencing is having the ability to affect, induce or persuade one to do something or not do something. Leadership is Influencing.

Without the power to influence others and to see and follow the vision of an organization, a leader is nothing more than a lame duck.

Influencing, inspiring, and motivating are part of the daily task of a leader.


The creation of a great vision and the implementation of the vision mean nothing without the ability to effectively implement the plan.

One of the fundamental skill sets of a leader is the ability to implement their vision. Implementation is making it happen.

Implementing means to put into effect according to process or procedure, to fulfill. If a leader cannot implement, they cannot be effective.


The most important component of leadership is the leader’s ability to EXECUTE.

As Ram Charan, co-author of the book Execution, puts it, “Execution is the missing link between aspirations and results. Because it must be part of the company’s strategy and its goals, it is the most important job of any business leader.”

Charan goes on to say, “The absence of execution is the single biggest obstacle to success and the cause of most of the disappointments that are mistakenly attributed to other causes. When a company executes well, people are not brought to their knees by changes in the business environment.”

To be an effective leader, one must possess or learn the four skill sets mentioned in this article.

We can discuss how technology is rapidly changing the landscape. However, it is effective leaders can practice Visioning, Influencing, Implementing, and, most important of all, Executing.

It is always about people. People create Products, Processes, and Profits.

What is the Discipline of Doing?

If you have ideas about a discipline that might be helpful to readers, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!

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Dr. Terry Jackson
Dr. Terry Jackson
Terry is Managing Partner for WEpiphany. Developing People is Terry’s purpose and passion. Terry brings 25 years of experience working for organizations and is also a certified Executive and Business Coach, and Sales Trainer.
  • Ramdeo Choudhary says:

    I agree absolutely with the author and wish to go a step further. We all say and expect a leader to have a command of who they are. This trait can not be acquired by outer means. This means that a leader to be really enlightened about his authentic self, he/she has to learn the art of mindful meditation for a specific period to get enlightened and acquire the power of application of his leadership and skill sets in an inspired and effective fashion.The enlightenment makes a man proactive and not passive as has been the opinion so far. Today in a complex situation it is a should and must. Gone are the days when mere achievements of profit more than the forecast by hook or by crook used to be the yardstick of a successful leader. People are more restless today than before even after so much technological advancement and to carry them along in a willing,inspired and committed fashion with the goals of the organisation can not be completed without a spark of enlightenment in leadership style.

  • David McCuistion says:

    During my teaching days, when students would tell me the reason for not being part of an event or project was “it’s not fun”, I would counter with, “The fun is in the doing.”

    Taking a line from “Fish”, leaders must “Be there”, and if they are there, their leadership will be “doing everything necessary” to make a difference in the organization and the lives of the people with whom they work in that group.

    Great article. Thank you. I’ll be sharing it with my Leadership Seekers Group.

  • Mugabe Samson Jotham says:

    Thank you for this great information about discipline and leadership. It has been so helpful to me as the Director of Initiative for students discipline network Uganda.

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