Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to argue that in a strategic context organising is a cybernetic process that corresponds leadership and management. The paper reflects on the obverse condition where the lack of correspondence may facilitate failure. Design/methodology/approach – The paper applies Stafford Beer’s viable systems model to consider management and leadership’s relationship in the organisational context and draws on the practice of leadership and management to support the theoretical assertions. Findings – That management and leadership are key processes in organising that need to be in mutual correspondence in order to sustain the viability of the organisation. Research limitations/implications – The paper explores management and leadership from a systems perspective and so further practical work could be initiated to consider both successful organising and failure. Practical implications – The paper is attempting to demonstrate that organisations may need to develop leadership and management contiguously as control and viability drivers; and that the duopoly of management and leadership is at the heart of the cybernetics of organising. Originality/value – The paper attempts to consider the seminal cybernetic process of organising.