Little Bighorn Leadership Experience

Crow Agency, Montana

The Battle of the Little Bighorn, also called Custer’s Last Stand, occurred over two days in June 1876 near the Little Bighorn River in eastern Montana. The stunning victory of the combined forces of the Lakota and Northern Cheyenne tribes against the 7th Cavalry of the US Army was the most famous battle of all of the Indian Wars. The US cavalry detachment lost every soldier in the unit through a combination of circumstances in which their Native American opposition was underestimated due to the convergence of overconfidence, exaggerated urgency, and inadequate assessment. The story and its lessons provide a platform from which to understand leadership principles important in today’s hyper-competitive business environment, such as hubris based on success, the importance of adequate competitive intelligence, the benefit of strong intra-unit relationships and trust, effective communication, and the need for focused decision-making under pressure in a highly fluid situation.

The program emphasizes and examines leadership through the lens of both the Native American and 7th Cavalry perspectives on the situation, featuring the participation of direct descendants of Native American tribal leaders who fought at the Little Bighorn. Rapid decision-making under intense pressure in the face of unexpected circumstances will provide a powerful backdrop on haunting terrain for an examination of the aspects of leadership that affect the ultimate success of the mission far beyond the mere force of the leader’s character and style.

Who Should Attend

The leadership training principles and concepts presented through the Little Bighorn Leadership Experience can be tailored to meet the needs of the highest level senior leaders to the less-experienced yet rising leaders within an organization. The Little Bighorn experience explores universal leadership themes any leader will find beneficial to his or her career growth and/or organizational aspirations.

Key Leadership Lessons:

Communicating in an Ambiguous EnvironmentForging AlignmentKnowing the CompetitionReinforcing Mission Focus
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Selected Case Studies

  • Sitting Bull
  • Maj. Marcus Reno
  • Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer

Key Leadership Lessons

  • The dangers of complacency and underestimating of the competition
  • Forging alignment throughout and across organizational boundaries
  • Reinforcing mission focus and clarity of deliverables n
  • Communicating effectively in a rapidly evolving and complex environment
  • Resolving conflict and constructive confrontation


The Little Bighorn Leadership Experience is a two-day program delivered over three days, beginning on the evening of day one with a strategic overview, followed by day two on the battlefield with an After-Action Review (AAR) back at the lodging facility, and the morning of day three on the battlefield with a working lunch and final AAR back at the lodging facility. Customization is possible.


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