Alamo Leadership Experience

By Influencing without Resources, Instilling Innovation, Knowing the Competition

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!”

Pearl Harbor Leadership Experience

By Gambles into Managing Risk, Influencing without Resources, Knowing the Competition

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 Leadership Experience

By Knowing the Competition, Reinforcing Mission Focus

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.

Little Bighorn Leadership Experience

By Communicating in an Ambiguous Environment, Forging Alignment, Knowing the Competition, Reinforcing Mission Focus

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.

Kennesaw Mountain Leadership Experience

By Forging Alignment, Knowing the Competition, Managing Disagreement

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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