Washington’s Crossing Leadership Experience

Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania

Focusing on the Ten Crucial Days of the American Revolution, the Washington’s Crossing Leadership Experience explores the leadership decisions and actions that drove the outcomes of the Battles of Trenton and Princeton (New Jersey) in December 1776 and January 1777. On the American side, case studies will examine the controversy surrounding Continental leadership in the early phases of the war for independence, successful engineering of the nighttime crossing of the flood-swollen Delaware River on Christmas Eve in the most hostile conditions imaginable, and the commanding general’s quick adaptation to circumstances and marshaling of available resources to ensure victory against overwhelming odds. On the British side, participants will see examples of allocating resources against advice based on contempt for enemy capabilities, overtly discounting real time intelligence, and taking the competition for granted.

Leadership dynamics emphasized in the experience will include setting direction and maintaining standards in fluid and ambiguous circumstances, orchestrating efforts efficiently across geographically dispersed units and organizational boundaries, influencing without direct authority, instilling a sense of urgency in executing plans and capitalizing on opportunity, and achieving clarity on roles, responsibilities, and decision-making rights.

Key Leadership Lessons:

Communicating EffectivelyInfluencing without Direct Authority
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Selected Case Studies

  • General George Washington 
  • Major General Charles Lee 
  • Major General Charles Cornwallis 

Selected Leadership Lessons

  • Setting direction and maintaining standards in ambiguity 
  • Establishing alignment across dispersed units and organizational boundaries 
  • Creating opportunity out of crisis 
  • Clarifying roles, responsibilities, and decision-making rights 
  • Influencing without direct authority 


The Washington’s Crossing Leadership Experience is a two-day program delivered over three days, beginning with an overview and dinner on the first evening in historic Princeton, New Jersey, and followed the next day by a full day at historic sites and battlefields. The third day’s morning will be spent on the Princeton battlefield and followed by a working lunch and final after-action review. Customization is possible. 


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