Execution requires power, and consists of the interpretation of initiative followed by activation.

Execution follows the initiative taken in implementation. The first stage of execution is interpretation of the action that has been indicated by the evaluation.

Effective control depends on accurate interpretation during execution. In some cases interpretation may be distorted or misinterpreted. This may be accidental or deliberate. In the case of the charge of the Light Brigade the interpretation was accidental, and the results were catastrophic. In contrast, Horatio Nelson famously won the Battle of Copenhagen by putting his telescope to his blind eye, and declaring that he could not see the signal to withdraw.

The final stage of execution and implementation is activation. This occurs when the power is finally applied to the implementation and the action is carried into effect – when the shot is fired, the axe falls, or the rocket is launched. Both interpretation and activation require power. The power may not necessarily be physical. The power may be emotional, political, or the conviction that what is being executed is necessary, inevitable, justified, or right. Both history and contemporary life contain innumerable examples of this type of power.


During the Crimean War at the battle of Balaclava, following an evaluation by the Commander in Chief, the Light Brigade of the English cavalry were ordered to capture the guns from the Russians. Unfortunately Lord Cardigan, the commander of the Light Brigade was unable to see the guns concerned. Instead, he was only able to see the massed Russian artillery at the end of a different valley. In order to implement the evaluation made by his superior officer he therefore made a wrong interpretation of the decision. This caused him to execute a futile heroic charge in the wrong direction and to lose most of his troops.

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