Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger once said, “The task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been.” Never has that been truer than during the COVID-19 pandemic. As the virus rampaged across the world, economies shuttered, travel ceased, work was done from home, and “social distancing” became a perennial practice. Now, two years into the pandemic, much of the world is learning to live with COVID, and people are eagerly anticipating the “return to normal.” But what does “normal” mean?
In 2021, many corporate leaders started talking about what “normal” would be for their companies, and three topics emerged across business magazines and professional forums:
- The “Great Resignation”
- COVID Fatigue
- WFH (work from home) forever?
It’s no wonder that demand for professional development coaching soared over the past two years. In 2019, the International Coaching Federation estimated the market size of the coaching industry at $15 billion. In 2022, it’s projected to hit $20 billion.
If you are searching for a professional development solution, the options are bewildering. Cliché exercises, catchy acronyms spelling out formulas for success, seminars, webinars, executive bootcamps, and a dizzying array of books abound. Thousands of coaches and consultants promise game-changing experiences that will drive better results.
The Battlefield Leadership approach is different. We use history’s lessons to prepare today’s leaders for tomorrow’s challenges. Our programs bring corporate leaders together at historic locations to walk in the footsteps of those who came before us. By leveraging the power of place and taking contemporary leaders through the sequence of historic events, what becomes clear is that leadership attributes don’t change; only time and circumstances do.
If you are struggling with employee retention amid the “Great Resignation,” think about General George Washington having to convince every soldier in the Continental Army to reenlist every six weeks following a string of humiliating losses against the British in 1776. Despite the centuries that separate Washington’s day from ours, his challenge is strikingly familiar—retaining talent during the toughest of times.
If “COVID fatigue” has taken a toll on your team, think about President Abraham Lincoln rallying a war-weary people. By the time Lincoln delivered his Gettysburg Address in November 1863, the Civil War had dragged on for nearly three years. The public had had enough of war and death, and there was no end in sight. Lincoln’s challenge resonates today—motivating exhausted people to achieve important goals.
If your company shed office space in favor of remote work and you fear the “WFH” movement is impacting team synergy, consider General Dwight Eisenhower and the Allied commanders’ preparation for D-Day. They faced the same challenge you’ve been dealing with over the past two years—how to train, equip, and trust team members to execute a plan.
We at Battlefield Leadership use lessons from history because of the power of hindsight. Examining events from decades, or even centuries ago, allows us to evaluate the full effects of leaders’ decisions over the long term. By contrast, the case studies featured in countless management books and business reviews are often isolated snapshots in time, devoid of the context necessary for a comprehensive assessment.
In the 1990s, Enron was lauded as the example of a company that got it right. Once a darling of Wall Street, Enron collapsed almost overnight in a cloud of scandal. Business analysts fawned over Elizabeth Holmes as she built Theranos up to astonishing heights with big promises to revolutionize healthcare. Convicted of fraud, Holmes now faces the prospect of prison.
At Battlefield Leadership, we teach our clients to view current situations through the lens of history-making, character-based leadership. Join us for our weekly blog series showcasing the most powerful leadership themes from our programs, beginning with leaders who inspire. We believe effective leaders should always be learners, and we invite you to embark on a study of the past that can transform your company’s future.
We will see you on the battlefield.
Through our unique programs, leaders from Fortune 500 companies, government entities and higher education institutions learn how to overcome these challenges and transform their organizations, positioning them for future successes. Find out how Battlefield Leadership can help yours by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 864.386.9637.