The Three Pillars

If you are anything like me, you live off of lists. I make a list for work, listing all the things I need to get done and the due date for each activity. At home I make lists for our family, organizing events, doctor’s appointments, sports practices, and so on, all on a family calendar. Figuring out what things you should do first can often be an overwhelming task in itself, especially if you have more than one thing to accomplish on the same day. As a manager, there are so many things that you need to do that are different but they interact with each other to create success. The three pillars of management are: 1) strategic positioning, 2)organizational design, and 3) Individual leadership.

The three pillars are not as easy as they sound. They do not interact with each other in an organized, linear way with a step-by-step process, like my fun little lists I create. They interact with each other by going back and forth, in an intertwined active way. They are interdependent and interactive. You need all three of these aspects to manage an organization effectively. Let’s look at them all. (Gulati et al., 2017)

The first pillar, strategic positioning, stands for the way the business firm creates value for itself as compared to its competitors. This also relates to the way the firm serves and delivers to its customers. The strategy of an organization depends on how competitive the environment is and on the skills and knowledge of the management team. The ability of the management team to understand the environment they are working in, is dependent on their ability to recognize threats and opportunities, as well as organize the resources available to them. This knowledge will help them compete effectively in the marketplace. (Gulati et al., 2017)

Organizational design is more of a step-by-step process which identifies the parts of the work flow, procedures, structures and systems that are not functioning and works to realign them to fit with the current business goals and develops new plans to implement them. This process not only works on improving the technical side of the business but also the people side. This design process usually leads to a more effective organizational design with improved results, and employees who are empowered and committed to the business. (Allen, n.d.)

Individual leadership represents the individual’s ability to develop and utilize one’s positive leadership traits giving the firm the opportunity to work in a desired direction. Leaders must first know who they are and what skills and knowledge they have in order to motivate others effectively. Knowing their leadership abilities helps guide an organization and its employees to deliver required performances to contribute effectively towards organizational goals. (Gulati et al., 2017)

The three pillars of management interact with each other in a way, that for any business enterprise to be successful, there is a need to create a strategic position that could leverage the organization’s standing in front of its competitors. To create a strategic position, the organization has to design its goals in such a way that the structure, resources, etc., work together and support the achievement of the organizational objectives. A business can acquire effective strategic position and organizational design only with the help of individual leaders who are knowledgeable and skilled at their work. For any firm to be successful, these pillars need to work together to create the most effective outcomes. (Gulati et al., 2017)

Organizational design is the detailed expression of organizational strategy. For example, if the strategy is to downsize an organization, organizational design helps leaders figure out which department or positions need to be reorganized or trimmed. If a company’s strategy is to introduce a new line of business, organizational design is used to figure out who needs to be in charge of this new business, how many positions need to be filled, and how the reporting structure will look. In this way, strategy and design go hand-in-hand. (Feigenbaum, 2017)

A manager can affect the strategy of an organization in numerous ways. Leadership is very important when it comes to forming and following through with strategy. Without leadership, good strategy will not happen. If a manager carries a positive attitude towards the organizational goals, the employees will develop the same attitude from their leader/manager. This positive attitude will help to motivate the employees to work strongly and effectively to meet the organizational goals. The leader must focus the company on deepening its strategic position and communicate the strategy to both customers and employees. (Fuller, 2017) (Gulati et al., 2017)

The truth is, figuring out which pillar of management is most important to focus on is a daily, ever-changing activity. One day you may need to focus on your team members and advocate for them to management. Another day, you may find yourself on the other side of the fence describing to a team member why their point of view does not align with the strategy of the organization and it’s goals. Each situation that arises requires a different focus but they all work together for the greater good of the organization. (Watkins, 2019)


Allen, R. K. (n.d.). What is Organizational Design? The Center for Organizational Design. Retrieved August 28, 2021, from

Feigenbaum, E. (2017, November 21). Relationship Between Organizational Strategy & Organization Design. Small Business – Chron.Com.

Fuller, J. M. N. (2017, October 29). The Leader’s Role in Strategy. Graziadio Business Review | Graziadio School of Business and Management | Pepperdine University.

Gulati, R., Mayo, A., & Nohria, N. (2017). MindTap – Cengage Learning. Cengage.Com.

Watkins, C. (2019, February 6). The Pillars of Management – Cap Watkins. Medium.

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