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World War I Leadership Experience

By Cascading Strategic Vision, Forging Alignment, Lateral & Vertical Alignment

The First World War lasted from July 28, 1914, to November 11, 1918, engulfing 36 countries and putting over 60 million combatants in the trenches. Millions of battlefield casualties and over 50 million casualties from an influenza outbreak transformed the population. 

The United States of America entered the war late—on April 7, 1917—and had to quickly raise an army capable of fighting alongside French and British allies. This experience utilizes case studies from General John J. Pershing and the American Expeditionary Forces (the name of the US Army in France during the war) to focus on timeless leadership lessons. The challenges of planning, recruiting, training, deploying, supplying, and leading an organization like the American Expeditionary Forces—consisting of approximately two million people—carry many valuable insights for modern corporate and nonprofit executives. 

Exploring the National WWI Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri, participants will gain keen awareness of the importance of building cohesive teams, providing strategic vision and leadership, meeting challenging objectives with limited resources, and innovating under pressure. 

The leadership principles and concepts presented throughout the program can be tailored to meet the needs of experienced executives or rising leaders within any organization. 

Vimy Ridge Leadership Experience

By Cascading Strategic Vision, Communicating Effectively, Lateral & Vertical Alignment

Arguably the most important battle to the formation of Canadian national identity, the Battle of Vimy Ridge occupies a special place in Canadian history—and for good reason. This leadership program explores the key decisions, leaders, and innovations that had a profound impact on not only the outcome of the First World War, but also Canada itself. This course explores pivotal events and judgments from the Canadian, British, and German perspectives. By visiting historically significant and remarkably preserved locations on the Western Front battlefield in northern France, participants will develop a greater sense of how to refine their individual leadership and organizational goals through small group discussion and exploration.

The American Innovation Experience

By Cascading Strategic Vision, Importance of Initiative, Instilling Innovation

In this program, we will explore the importance of intellectual curiosity in the innovation process. The Age of Innovation, spanning the latter 1800s and extending into the early 1900s, was characterized by great business “disruptors” of the era. We will study Henry Ford, Nikola Tesla, Thomas Alva Edison, and the Wright Brothers. The program, conducted in Dearborn, Michigan, will include sessions at the The Museum of American Innovation, Greenfield Village, and the Ford River Rouge Complex. Participants will witness some of the great inventions in history and the approach used to create an environment where revolutionary thinking was encouraged and expected to spur unprecedented advancement. In small group settings, we will discuss and debate the innovation process and conduct our own experimental case study that will include the marketing of a business breakthrough and monetization of the outcome.


Waterloo Leadership Experience

By Cascading Strategic Vision, Importance of Initiative, Leveraging Technological Change

The so-called War of the Seventh Coalition, which included the Battle of Waterloo, pitted Napoleon Bonaparte and the armies of France against the combined armies of Europe, most notably from Britain, Prussia, and the Netherlands. This famous and well-documented period of European and military history aptly demonstrates the challenges of leadership and team building faced not only by Napoleon and his marshals, but also by the international coalition arrayed against him. Also known as the Hundred Days War (les Cent Jours), the war marked the period between Napoleon’s return from exile and the second restoration of King Louis XVIII. Although Napoleon’s last gasp occurred during this time, this period witnessed his brilliance and limitations as a leader and, equally, the strengths and weaknesses of the coalition command opposing him.

This rich and engaging battlefield metaphor provides an ideal setting within which to discuss many leadership themes, including the importance of establishing a climate of commitment and readiness, building and effectively sustaining teams of leaders, balancing a sense of strategic opportunity with the calculation of immediate tactical risks, leveraging the power of technological change, maintaining a sense of order in the chaos of a rapidly changing situation, and creating an environment that fosters initiative and ownership.

Hudson Valley Leadership Experience

By Cascading Strategic Vision, Importance of Initiative, Working Across Organizational Boundaries

Based in a period of great uncertainty, infused with a powerful vision for the future of a nation free from the oppression of foreign dominance and rule, the events that occurred in the Hudson Valley of New York from October 1777 through October 1780 had a profound and strategically important effect on the morale of the struggling Continental Army and its control of key defensive positions along the Hudson River. The obvious importance of the Hudson River to the colonies as the main transportation artery for supplies, as well as its natural positioning as an invasion route from Canada, made the need for the establishment, recapture, and strengthening of defenses along its length a paramount strategic objective for the Continentals.

Participants will explore key terrain throughout the area and examine the locations assessed by Gen. George Washington and his staff in an attempt to re-establish or gain control of vital defensive positions. Highly interactive case studies will examine principal figures of the Colonial offensives in the greater Hudson River Valley area.

Normandy Open Enrollment

By Cascading Strategic Vision, Communicating Abiguity, Instilling Innovation

Next offering July 1-4, 2025

On July 1-4, 2025, Battlefield Leadership embarks on an all-inclusive leadership tour of Normandy. Our facilitators will take you to the French beaches, cliffs, and villages that served as battlegrounds for the turning point of World War II in the West. This is an opportunity to walk on the very land and experience firsthand the weight of the events that occurred on June 6, 1944, the largest invasion ever assembled.

We will be staying four nights at the exclusive Château La Chenevière, a 5-star 18th century chateau located in Port-en-Bessin, France. Pricing is all inclusive and covers the program fee, lodging, meals, bus transport, entrance fees, and any related costs once participants arrive at the Chenevière.

To sign up now or get additional information please fill out our Normandy Open Enrollment Contact Form.

Normandy Open Enrollment Form

Normandy Leadership Experience: D-Day

By Cascading Strategic Vision, Communicating Abiguity, Instilling Innovation

The Normandy Invasion, D-Day specifically, is a rich and stimulating source of leadership insight relevant to the challenges and opportunities of the current global business environment. Planning, organization, communication, teamwork, and initiative amid profound and increasingly rapid changes in circumstance are as critical now to effective execution as they were in 1944.
Throughout the Normandy Leadership Experience, we examine key strategic objectives and the tactical events that accompanied them, and we focus on the role leadership played in effective implementation–or the lack thereof. We also reflect upon the relevance of these timeless lessons and how each relates to contemporary leadership initiatives in participants’ current roles. Hallmarks of effective leadership and decision-making are explored in the context of D-Day operations.

Who Should Attend

The leadership principles and concepts presented through the Normandy 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 Normandy program explores universal leadership themes any leader will find beneficial to his or her career growth and/or organizational aspirations. However, the Normandy Leadership Experience will be highly beneficial for leaders of large, complex, multi-national, or multi-cultural organizations experiencing tremendous change and/or professionals who are charged with leading a team (or teams) of the same nature.

The Battle of the Bulge Leadership Experience

By Cascading Strategic Vision, Communicating Abiguity, Knowing the Competition, Perils of Confirmation Bias

The Battle of the Bulge Leadership Experience uses this monumental and pivotal battle—the largest single battle in the history of the United States Army—as a vehicle to examine how leaders of large and complex organizations address extraordinary and unforeseen challenges to achieve their individual group and larger organization objectives. It also provides an immensely rich platform from which to explore leadership decisions both from a highly proactive/offensive position and from a defensive position during times of extreme desperation. The outcome of the German surprise attack in mid-December 1944 in Belgium and Luxembourg shaped not only our nation’s history, but also the course of world history.

The Battle of the Bulge provides a unique opportunity to examine leadership and its consequences in depth. On the German side, this battle represented the last gasp, the ultimate gamble to retrieve victory from impending defeat, a herculean effort to overcome seemingly impossible obstacles when the enemy had seized the initiative. For the American side, numerous issues resonate with contemporary clarity: dealing with the unknown or unexpected, creating order out of chaos, empowering subordinates, underestimating the competition, and the importance of providing clarity of intent and communication of goals.

Who Should Attend?

The character-based leadership principles presented through The Battle of the Bulge Leadership Experience can be tailored to meet the needs of the highest level senior leaders, the less-experienced yet rising leaders within an organization, or those at any level in between. The Battle of the Bulge program addresses universal leadership themes that leaders at all stages of professional development will find beneficial to their career growth and organizational aspirations.

Marc A. Chini

“As I look back on the experience personally, there is a unique effect that takes place when you connect such an emotional and historic event with leadership education. It makes the learning come to life in a way that is much different than anything that can take place in a classroom.”

EVP & Chief Human Resource Officer | Synchrony Financial
Marc A. Chini

Jeff Lane

“We have taken both experienced and potential leaders through the Cowpens Leadership Experience. Feedback from the participants has been overwhelmingly positive. The battlefield provides a natural and engaging platform for leadership development.”

Director of Corporate R&D | Milliken & Company
Jeff Lane, PhD

Robert F. Amen

“The appeal of the Gettysburg Leadership Program is truly universal. Our global senior management team, which comprises more than a dozen nationalities, rated this the best and most relevant leadership course they have experienced.”

CEO, International Flavors & Fragrances Inc. | International Flavors & Fragrances Inc
Robert M. Amen

Kevin D. Wilde

“There is no better feeling for a champion of corporate learning than when a creative leadership development program makes an important difference for the organization AND wins over the skeptics. Battlefield Leadership is such a success story for General Mills. While some leaders were excited to use history and battles as a learning tool, others here weren’t so sure. But history came alive for all members of the team that week and it made a powerful impact on individuals and the working team. Since then numerous teams have sought out the Battlefield experience and we have an ongoing demand for this offering. I can highly recommend this program and also greatly value the partnership with the principal consultants.”

VP, Organization Effectiveness and Chief Learning Officer | General Mills, Inc
Kevin D. Wilde

David Tallman

“Our entire team of senior leaders was impacted by the Battlefield Experience—Leadership Lessons at Gettysburg. The examples used, coupled with the chance to actually walk the fields of engagement and learn how the decisions of a few leaders impacted many, were outstanding. The corollaries to our business leaders’ intentions and ensuring that all our team members understand those, left a lasting mark. The battle at Gettysburg determined the outcome of our nation’s greatest challenge…so too the lessons learned will impact the outcomes of our businesses. Thank you for making this a great investment in our team’s development.”

Senior Vice President and General Manager | Eaton Corporation
David Tallman

August W. Schaefer

“In the past three years I’ve had the opportunity to participate in both the Gettysburg and Normandy: D-Day Leadership Programs, and I could not be more impressed. While history is the backdrop, these are not history programs. Rather, history serves as the chalkboard for lessons in leadership and lessons in teamwork that are readily applicable to the workplace. The instructors don’t take you to the battlefield, they take you back in time and into it. I would strongly recommend these programs, and the instructors, to anyone looking to solidify their team or improve its performance.”

Senior Vice President & Public Safety Officer | Underwriters Laboratories Inc
August W. Schaefer

Peter A. Darbee

“My focus over the last thirteen years has been, above all else, on leadership. During these years of inquiry, no one has defined leadership quite as succinctly or effectively as you did at our session; character and competency says it all.”

Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer | PG&E Corporation
Peter A. Darbee

Carol Candino

“I just wanted to reach out after the Leadership Experience to say thank you for all of your guidance and experience in teaching this life course. I learned much about our history’s leaders and how their decisions and thought processes unfolded, as well as how it related to corporate leaders today. What I found most surprising were the leadership lessons and how they related to me in more ways than I could have expected. I saw qualities in myself that I had forgotten I possessed. I want to thank you for reminding me that they were there. Thank you again for being an inspiring leader to us and for helping us to discover the leader within.”

Bayer Healthcare
Carol Candino

Paul Merrild

“It’s impossible to visit the battlefield of Gettysburg without being deeply moved. When I recently spent three days wandering these hallowed grounds, I realized that my industry, health care—and others going through turbulent times—have much to learn from the hard-won lessons of Gettysburg.”

Senior Vice President, Enterprise Solutions | athenahealth, Inc.
Paul Merrild

Michael Hobbs

“We are determined not to let the lessons we learned at Gettysburg go to waste. So I have dedicated two hours every month for leadership training. I’ve assigned each of my managers a month to run a session. The focus of each session is to make us better leaders individually and as a team by learning from each other.”

Vice President Custom Services & Development | Novation
Michael Hobbs

Sal Sama

“The Gettysburg Leadership Experience provides an environment for business professionals to examine one of the greatest battles of American history through the perspective of its leaders and their subordinates. Clarity of communication, organizational focus, alignment, succession readiness, and many other present day business challenges are discussed through a historical perspective where certain decisions and actions turned the tide of war and history, and which metaphorically apply as factors for success or failure in your business. Participants in the Battlefield Leadership training benefit both personally and professionally from the experience.”

Business Manager | WinField Solutions
Sal Sama

Kamie Eckert

“This was the second time that our team has partnered with the Battlefield Leadership group for a team engagement trip. After having an amazing experience the first time in Normandy, it was hard to imagine that we would be able to recreate that same type of magic and connection. I am happy to share that while the Malta experience was very different, it certainly built on what we had learned previously and filled the current needs of our team perfectly. Kevin is great at reading the group, using our language to prompt conversation and making the space for the business discussions to take the lead. This has allowed us to grow through the connection and experience of the trip, but it has also to enabled us to have important business discussions leading to decisions that will help us accelerate our strategy. I am a huge fan and believer that the Battlefield Leadership experiences are key to our team’s success!”

President, General Manager USA | Royal Canin
Kamie Eckert

Steve Snyder

“The program format is very compelling. Our team was engaged at a level that brought energy to the event—I felt it touched each and every one of our senior management in a way that left them more engaged and focused.”

President | 21st Century Healthcare, Inc.
Steve Snyder

Luis Merizalde

“Your Normandy program was a great experience and the entire team came home energized and eager to apply the focused insights we picked up in Normandy to the business and their own lives. We definitely came back as better leaders! I was impressed with how well the program appealed to and affected all the different nationalities in a team as diverse as mine. I genuinely believe the Normandy Experience has provided important areas for improvement in effectiveness and a strong motivation boost for my team.”

President | General Mills, Australasia
Luis Merizalde

Patrick F. Bassett

“Experiential education and team-building at its best, the Gettysburg Experience is a transformational undertaking for leaders at any level in any organization, and especially for leadership teams. By walking the historic battles of Gettysburg and deconstructing the decisions made under fire, the relationships between leaders and subordinates, and the examples of inspired vs. confused communication, the Battlefield Leadership facilitators bring historic moments to life and make it extraordinarily relevant to the ‘battles’ modern leaders fight every day.”

President | National Association of Independent Schools
Patrick F. Bassett

Justin Greis

“Battlefield Leadership was one of the most profound and meaningful leadership development programs of my professional career. It perfectly blended history with real leadership business leadership challenges to create a powerfully immersive experience that will resonate from the most junior analyst to the executive office. So often we refer to leadership as some unattainable goal; a lofty title reserved for presidents, celebrities and TV personalities. Battlefield Leadership emphasizes the key behaviors and traits of leadership that can make the difference between a successful outcome and a resounding failure. The impressive team of military historians, officers, and leadership experts focuses on real behaviors that can be put into practice immediately and gives you the tools to cut through the fog and ambiguity that hinders many from reaching their full leadership potential. I will carry with me this experience always and I highly recommend the Battlefield Leadership program to anyone looking for a leadership experience that will feed the mind, enrich the soul, and touch the heart.”

Partner, Professor of Information Systems | Kelley School of Business, Indiana University and Ernst & Young Advisory Services
Justin Greis

Dr. Steve P Nichols

“The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive from all my team members. In short, I can summarize it by saying every one of them stated this is the best leadership experience they have ever participated in…by far. The enthusiasm you portrayed as you led us and the genuine interest you took in the team and each member of it largely accounts for the huge success.”

U.S. Agronomic Manager | Bayer CropScience
Dr. Steve P Nichols

John T. Dillon

“On behalf of International Paper, please accept my thanks for a great job in taking us through the Gettysburg Experience. Your enthusiasm and deep knowledge about the subject made for a rich experience, and your energy kept everyone going through a very busy day. As leaders, our challenge is to take these new learnings and use them to motivate our people to help us take our company to the next level. Thanks again, and well done!”

Chairman | International Paper
John T. Dillon

Kevin Wirkus

“As a business leader and veteran, I can think of no better platform to train today’s executives than Battlefield Leadership. Much more than a history lesson, Battlefield Leadership offers profound and detailed insight into the leaders and decisions that shaped the very fabric of America, as well as the application to today’s competitive business environment.”

Vice President | 21st Century Healthcare, Inc.
Kevin C. Wirkus

Ken Gills

“Your leadership insights were no less than outstanding. I learned more these past two days of leadership training than in any other course I have ever attended.”

Bayer HealthCare
Ken Gills