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.

Cowpens Leadership Experience

By Communicating Abiguity, Instilling Innovation, Lateral & Vertical Alignment, Reinforcing Mission Focus

The Cowpens battlefield, located in northwest South Carolina, offers a rich metaphor for leadership development in the contemporary business world. Set against a backdrop of continuous defeats at the hands of the British Army, the American victory at the Battle of Cowpens is often portrayed as the pivotal battle of the Revolutionary War in the South. The story of how an adaptive commander of a small and under-resourced American army of volunteers, regulars, and militia engineered a brilliant tactical victory against superior British forces is a compelling vignette which addresses many leadership dynamics of contemporary relevance. These include setting direction and establishing order in a complex and highly fluid environment, using situational awareness to improvise in the face of unexpected developments, harnessing diversity for agility in performance, engaging and motivating associates, and building trust and respect.

Who Should Attend

The leadership training principles and concepts presented through the Cowpens Leadership Experience can be tailored to meet the needs of the most senior leaders or geared to the less-experienced, rising leaders within an organization. Any leader who is positioned to have a measurable effect on the performance of the overall organization or the effectiveness of his or her own department would gain valuable insights and strategies for improvement.

Chickamauga Leadership Experience

By Communicating Abiguity, Driving Empowerment, Instilling Innovation, Lateral & Vertical Alignment

The September 1863 Battle of Chickamauga (in northwest Georgia) provides a rich metaphor for exploring the leadership skills required to survive and succeed in today’s business environment. During three days in mid-September, the engagements between a Confederate force totaling nearly 67,000 and a Union force totaling approximately 57,000 evolved into complex operations that were fought over challenging terrain. Added to this were the interpersonal tensions and stylistic shortcomings among the Confederate high command in the face of fragmented initiative and the ambiguous direction of Union forces. The Battle of Chickamauga provides a strong framework from which to discuss how leaders view, plan, and mobilize around a strategic focal point. At stake was the important rail-hub city of Chattanooga, which–if captured by the Union–could create a “Gateway to Atlanta” and further cripple or kill the Confederacy.

Case studies of the situations and the leading participants engaged at the Battle of Chickamauga provide a strongly evocative context within which to examine leadership from the participants’ perspectives as they relate to their own company or work team. Our two-day program takes us to poignant sites rich with lessons and perfect for leadership discussion and reflection.

Who Should Attend

The leadership principles and concepts presented through the Chickamauga 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 Chickamauga Leadership Experience explores universal leadership themes any leader will find beneficial to his or her career growth and/or organizational aspirations.

Antietam Leadership Experience

By Dangers of Complacency, Importance of Initiative, Lateral & Vertical Alignment, Opportunity in Crisis

The single bloodiest day in American military history, the Battle of Antietam, serves as an exemplary model for evaluating and analyzing a multitude of leadership practices and characteristics that can be directly applied to the leadership acumen needed for today’s business environment.

On September 16, 1862, the Union Army of the Potomac confronted the Army of Northern Virginia at Sharpsburg, Maryland. At dawn on September 17, the Union forces mounted a powerful assault on the Confederate left flank and began the Battle of Antietam. Over the course of that day and into the following day, 87,000 Union troops and 45,000 Confederate troops waged vicious warfare. The Battle of Antietam was marked by heroic attacks, counterattacks, and leadership decisions that were of both short-term and long-term consequence.

Who Should Attend

The leadership principles and concepts presented through the Antietam 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 Antietam Leadership Experience explores universal leadership themes that any leader will find beneficial to his or her career growth and/or organizational aspirations.

Saratoga Leadership Experience

By Dangers of Complacency, Importance of Initiative, Lateral & Vertical Alignment

The turning point of the American Revolution occurred in scenic Upstate New York in October 1777 when against all odds the Continental Army upset British plans to end the war once and for all. Despite internal leadership friction and severe logistical and manpower challenges, Patriot leaders defeated their more experienced and better equipped counterparts. This course takes participants to the very location where the course of the American Revolution—and by extension, the course of world history—was changed irrevocably. In a small group setting, attendees will investigate how to seize the initiative, align a complex organization, overcome adversity, and defeat complacency.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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