Leading with Character

The examples of Nelson Mandela, Winston Churchill, and Union General George Meade are used to illustrate the force of character as a conscious tool in shaping decisions and actions.  Mandela’s decision to secretly negotiate with the Apartheid government of South Africa while a prisoner, Churchill’s strength of opposition to the appeasement of Nazi Germany, and Meade’s insistence on the training and full engagement of his staff in his early career are studied to illustrate how an abiding knowledge of one’s core moral principles drives and guides taking action against adversity in times of crisis.  Participants gain a vivid understanding of how character, manifested through moral courage, can drive sound judgment under pressure.

Methodology & Delivery

Combining pre-reading with the use of highly effective technology and mixed media such as Powerpoint slides, video clips, and case studies, our Theme Based classroom programs can be delivered in traditional corporate conference venues to groups as small as 20 participants or as large as 1,400 participants all at one time.

Our programs are designed in a modular fashion so sessions of differing lengths and depth can be developed to meet an organization’s objectives and needs.  Working in advance to create a highly customized session, we can highlight selected combinations of case studies and battle events in order to emphasize certain lessons or messages.  Or, the programs can be intermittently delivered in an interstitial mode to fit differing agenda needs, or as featured parts of broader agendas for corporate meeting or conference plans.

The standard classroom program length is eight hours, but can be expanded to 12 hours if needed.  A minimum length of four hours is required, which allows time for the necessary context and overview of the battle and for an in-depth examination of two leadership case studies, along with concluding exercises and comments. Each added case study requires two additional hours of program time.

Leadership Elements Explored

Leadership elements, including themes or competencies, can be meaningfully addressed in a simple and powerful manner via the case studies and the content of our classroom programs.  Our classroom programs help explore and discuss such leadership elements as:

  • The impact of thorough preparation and planning on execution under pressure
  • Providing clarity of intent, direction and expectations
  • The importance of knowing and understanding resource capabilities – human, material, and technological
  • Making decisions with incomplete or inadequate information
  • Communicating a compelling vision and enrolling peers and subordinates in decisions and initiatives
  • Distinguishing critical from important – prioritizing decisions and actions
  • Taking initiative in ambiguous or chaotic situations
  • Creating team alignment and a sense of team achievement
  • The importance of monitoring succession readiness and ensuring succession

Benefits of Classroom Program

There are a number of benefits to our classroom programs, including:

Highly Effective – Our battle-based classroom programs replicate all but the physical experience of being on location where these historic events occurred.  This feature makes it extremely beneficial for companies desiring to communicate the leadership culture, language and lessons from our battlefield experiences to their peer colleagues and direct reports who could not participate in programs on the battlefields.  Our theme-based classroom programs are ideal settings to bring to life the leadership aspects of the characters and situations from those programs.

Cost-Efficient – Because these programs can be conducted onsite or at a client’s location of their choosing, these programs can be a highly cost-efficient way to introduce or extend leadership training programs to a larger group of leaders and managers.

Highly Customized – By gathering information from pre-session interviews or teleconferences with program sponsors and/or HR leaders, we can focus in on specific events, characters and dynamics of the battlefield programs or the theme-based programs to make each classroom experience highly relevant and situational to all participants and the needs of that organization.

Additional Information

The classroom model combines case studies, battle maps, video clips, Powerpoint slide content, facilitated geneeral discussions, and small group work as part of the design.  They are highly interactive among participants and strongly iterative between facilitators and the audience.  The proprietary case studies act as the centerpiece, and the programs are designed modularly to accommodate differing delivery requirements.  The general rule of thumbe is two hours of program time for each case study included, with six-eight hours as an optimal program length.  However, if a client wants a more lasting impact and a more focused deliverable as part of the process, a 1.5 day (12 hour) approach is recommended so an overnight period and a targeted work assignment figures into the reflection time for the participants.  The minimum program time is four hours.