A key conflict of the Texas Revolution, the Siege and Battle of the Alamo is generally accepted as a defining moment in the formation of American character and culture. This program follows the story of the Alamo from the capture of the garrison and its commander through its fortification and siege in the possession of Texian joint command, to the massacre of its defenders–ordered by Mexican leadership. On the Texian side, the leadership focus is on determination, effective execution in spite of severely limited resources, and tactical innovation in the face of insurmountable odds. From the Mexican perspective, the emphasis is on underestimating the competition, as well as the power of complacency and inflexibility to undermine operational effectiveness. The battlefield in the heart of historic downtown San Antonio, even today amid concrete and steel, still resounds with the cry, “Remember the Alamo!”
December 7, 1941—a date that lives in infamy—is a provocative source of leadership insight directly applicable to the challenges and opportunities of today’s global business environment. The surprise attack on Pearl Harbor left the US Pacific Fleet shattered and brought the United States into World War II. Looking at the attack from both the Japanese and American perspectives, we will examine how planning, organization, communication, teamwork, initiative, and—most importantly—leadership are as critical to execution now as they were in 1941.
As the team explores Pearl Harbor, Ford Island, and the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, participants will gain keen awareness of the importance of building cohesive teams, evaluating the competition, leading in the midst of chaos, meeting challenging objectives with limited resources, and turning gambles into manageable risks. The leadership principles and concepts presented through the Pearl Harbor Leadership Experience can be tailored to meet the needs of senior executives or rising leaders within an organization.
Pea Ridge National Battlefield Park near Bentonville, Arkansas, is one of the best preserved Civil War battlegrounds in the country. In late 1861, keeping Missouri in the Union was a primary objective for the federal government, and Confederate troops and state militia there had been increasingly pressuring pro-Union forces and raising support for the secession of Missouri. As Union troops swept southwest, following the telegraph lines that bordered the main road connecting St. Louis and San Francisco at the time, Confederate troops converged from the south and moved north, intending to strike in Missouri and capture St. Louis. The 16,000-man Confederate force encountered the 10,500-man Union army firmly entrenched on the bluffs of the Pea Ridge plateau on March 6, 1862. In the two days of fighting that followed, the Confederate forces were defeated and withdrew to east of the Mississippi, leaving Missouri and Northern Arkansas in control of the Union and southern Arkansas virtually undefended and open to Union occupation. One of the largest battles fought west of the Mississippi, Pea Ridge was one of the few contests in the Civil War in which Southern forces outnumbered the Northern armies.
Case studies will focus on the adept use of competitive intelligence, the perils of assumptions and lack of validation, abandonment of mission focus amid diversion to a secondary and unexpected obstacle, the role of overconfidence and underestimating competitive capability, and adaptive leadership in reacting to unexpected enemy movements and thinking strategically to halt their advance.
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.
The Battle of Kennesaw Mountain was the last major Confederate defensive prior to the battles for Atlanta during Sherman’s March to the Sea. In a battle generally regarded as a debacle for Sherman and a masterful defense by Johnston, the Confederate withdrawal from its invulnerable fortifications under cover of darkness signaled a serious misalignment at the strategic level between Jefferson Davis and his commanding general Joseph Johnston. The consequences of this misalignment were far-reaching and portended the inevitability of defeat for the Confederacy. Johnston’s replacement as army commander by the impetuous John Bell Hood evidenced the rapidly growing desperation of President Jefferson Davis, and Sherman’s capture of Atlanta on September 2, 1864, gave the Northern population confidence in Abraham Lincoln’s ability to bring an end to the war, leading to his re-election in November and finally sealing the fate of the Confederacy and its bid for independence.
The events of the roughly 20 days of battle in the Kennesaw area offer in-depth looks at some of the Civil War’s most flamboyant characters, as well as unsung heroes during the fighting on this well-preserved battleground in the immediate outskirts of Atlanta.
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.