Article: Lead through tactical execution: Samuel B. Bacharach

Learning & Development

Lead through tactical execution: Samuel B. Bacharach

Samuel B. Bacharach, McKelvey-Grant Professor, Cornell University and Co-founder of the Bacharach Leadership Group
Lead through tactical execution: Samuel B. Bacharach

The challenge facing most organizations today is that of a leadership. On the surface, this may seem to be an overarching statement. Simply put, we need to demystify leadership and break it down into specific, trainable skills that will allow the key actors in the organization to move agendas. Organizations simply get stuck because leaders either process things to death or move too quickly. Throughout the organization, we need to make sure that individuals are trained in a core set of skills that focuses on their capacity to execute. Whether high potentials or the top two levels of the organization, we must get away from the model that maintains that leadership is about inspiration and charisma. There is a need to provide people the skills to be politically smart and managerially competent. Thus, leadership focus must be on the fundamental skills of organizing teams and sustaining momentum for results.

At the Bacharach Leadership Group, it is believed that internal leadership training programs that focus on core skills such as, overcoming resistance, negotiation, coaching, and communication, are at the heart of such issues as talent retention and enhancement of organizational culture. Too few of our leaders understand the basic principle that they cannot do it alone - that they need to mobilize others in their corner and they need to lead, not through vision, but through the pragmatics of tactical execution.

Thus, what can organizations do? There is a need to set up structured, internal high-potential leadership programs that focus on the core of the organization and those that understand the business to move agendas, while sustaining a collective sense of purpose. Such programs must be structured, integrated, cumulative, and be based on a keen understanding of the organization.

Each organization must develop a leadership training program that allows for continuous development of their high potentials. This for me has become a drive and a personal challenge. After over 30 years in academia, my commitment to create such programs is what makes a difference.

Creating structured, internal high-potential leadership programs are essential for five things. It is critical for enhancing, the organizations capacity to move ahead as a cohesive whole; organizational agility; talent retention; facilitating sharing of information; and balancing innovation with accountability. All of this leads to the bottom line, and the bottom line makesthe organizations, departments, etc. more successful.

It is absolutely possible to measure the ROI on such investments made on developing leaders. For the last number of years, we have developed a multi-modality methodology for developing leadership academies for organizations. We work in partnership with organizations to map their core competencies to specific leadership skills. And then in turn, develop and deliver an integrated leadership program, which allows a cohort of high-potential leaders to be trained each year, assuring a leadership pipeline. For such a program to be successful, it must identify the critical high potentials, focus on specific micro-skills, and involve cumulative learning, combine methodologies allowing participants to integrate learning into workplace practice. To ensure there is a clear ROI, BLG has developed a 50-item leadership peer assessment survey, which is implemented before the program, and intermittently applied after the program to assure progress.

Follow his blogs at or email at to contact him.

Read full story

Topics: Learning & Development, Leadership, Strategic HR

Did you find this story helpful?



How do you envision AI transforming your work?