Leadership Lessons from Gettysburg: A Transformational Experience that will increase your bottom line
November 9, 2009
“The secret to succeeding under challenging conditions is to get your team engaged
in their efforts.”
Few people know that during the battle of Gettysburg in 1863 there were over 51,000 casualties and 10,000 dead horses within 3 days. Even fewer people realize the second day of the battle is remembered primarily for the achievement of Lt. Col. Joshua L. Chamberlain.
Chamberlain, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for bravery, had no special education in military strategies. What he did have was the ability to engage those around him. What he did have was a capacity for leadership, says Steven B. Wiley, founder of the Lincoln Leadership Institute at Gettysburg.
The battle at Gettysburg is an incredible learning tool for businesses and organizations today. With many of the country’s largest companies and organizations awash against the tide of an uncertain economy, the lessons we learn from Gettysburg have a profound impact on the success of these companies, says Wiley. The Lincoln Leadership Institute hosts as its signature event an intensive threeday performance development experience that employs the battlefield lessons of Gettysburg to teach businesses and organizations how to develop their staffs’ leadership potential.
In 1863, our nation just wasn’t ready for a war between the States; its healthcare system was unprepared for caring for thousands of casualties each day, and no one had experience leading an organization of 100,000 people. It just wasn’t on anybody’s resume, Wiley says. If that weren’t enough to give anybody pause, as the war dragged into its second year, it was the larger, better-trained, organization that routinely came up short against its less equipped and less well-trained opponent. What the South had then, that the North didn’t was better leadership, Wiley says.
The secret to succeeding under challenging conditions is to get your team engaged in their efforts, Wiley says. “You have to instill a sense of confidence and a sense of pride in order to get anyone to go beyond their own self-interest.” There’s no more powerful motivator, and Wiley repeats it often against the backdrop of a 2007 Gallup poll that revealed that 70 percent of U.S. employees feel disengaged from their work.
“a sustained, transformational leadership experience that has reshaped our culture, repurposed our mission and driven outstanding performance results.”
Those lessons are being heard by many of the biggest organizations in the country. Since 1991, the efforts of the Institute have garnered praise from such heavy-hitters as ExxonMobil, Pfizer, Black & Decker, Novartis, the U.S. Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, and Verizon. Hundreds of teams from these companies have been sent to the Institute to learn from Steve Wiley and experience his unique brand of leadership development. Here’s what enrollees in the Lincoln Leadership Institute at Gettysburg can choose from as part of the Institute’s unique blend of programming:
“The Keynote Address: Lessons from Gettysburg”. Here Wiley introduces a series of performance-boosting strategies, many drawn from his own professional endeavors as author, entrepreneur, sales executive and franchise founder, that have served to transform his own approach to selling, negotiating, producing and leadership. One IBM executive calls this session, the best in which he has participated in 30 years.
As part of “Cases Studies: Lessons in the Field,” Wiley is accompanied by members of his team who bring their battlefield lessons to the worksite. The material, which includes both an examination of a firm’s position as well as its vulnerabilities, is designed to help business leaders better appreciate the impact of critical decision-making, and how being a good follower is as important as being a good leader. One Ford Motor Co. executive had this to say of this segment: “I cannot conceive of a better investment in our people than to let Steve Wiley motivate and develop them.”
In “High-Performance Negotiating: From the Battlefield to the Boardroom,” Wiley focuses on those skills needed to make a sales presentation, close a contract, lead a sales region, establish performance criteria, even buy a car. The session includes strategies on how to get your way more often while expending fewer resources of time, money, schedules and people. The lessons are delivered through a number of highly effective means, such as group and oneon- one role play, customized skill exercises, and a lecture. One Pfizer leader said, “these strategies can be implemented the very next day on the job to save and make money… lots of it.”
During the Lincoln Leadership Institute’s capstone event, “The Experience: A Transformational Journey from Gettysburg,” Wiley and his internationally known faculty lead participants on a three-day performance development experience through the hallowed ground of Gettysburg’s National Military Park, and make it into a living laboratory for the exploration of leadership. Participants in the three-day journey are introduced to time-tested strategies in negotiation, communication, listening and even wellness.
Here’s what one Black & Decker representative had to say about the experience: “Steve Wiley’s Journey from Gettysburg is the best and most comprehensive leadership development we’ve ever invested in.” A recent participant from Pfizer described the experience as, “a sustained, transformational leadership experience that has reshaped our culture, repurposed our mission and driven outstanding performance results.”
With tens of thousands of satisfied business and government leaders to speak about their experience at the Lincoln Leadership Institute, Wiley says you too could be a hero at your next meeting. Who knows, you might even meet the 16th president of the United States.