It's an important distinction. I think most progressive businesses have got the point that people are their most important resource but I still come across a lot of them who translate that into yes, people are important, because if we don't treat them right they won't implement our business strategy once we've developed it. This sees people as wheel or in a well oiled machine. But I think this largely misses the point. People aren't just important for implementation they're important for the strategy itself.
People are now the most important basis for business strategy, it's as simple as that. If you've not read my posts on creating value or on organisational capabilities then please do. Or come back on Wednesday and read my post on McKinsey's organisation health (these days it's not just HR which is saying people are the centre of business strategy.)
By the way, a consequence of this insight is that HR processes are the most strategic business processes in a firm, and that HR is the most strategic function - and definitely not just a support function!
Picture credit - SomeDriftwood