Blog

Seminar Feature: Leadership Lessons from Bull Run

There is Jackson standing like a stone wall!  Let us determine to die here,
and we will conquer.
Confederate General Bee, rallying his brigade near Henry House Hill, at the Battle of First Battle of Bull Run, July 21, 1861.

 

One hundred and fifty years ago, on 21 July 1861, Union and Confederate armies met at Bull Run Creek in the first battle of the American Civil War.  In the aftermath of the attack on Ft. Sumter and the secession of ten southern states, President Lincoln had called for 75,000 volunteers in mid-April, who were enlisted for 90 days as authorized by Congress. As Northern and Confederate military leaders organized their forces both sides believed firmly that the war would be very short.  One Alabama Congressman is reported to have said, “all of the blood that will be spilled in this conflict can be wiped up by one lady’s handkerchief.”

As the summer progressed, Lincoln, concerned the Union army of 90-day volunteers would evaporate, urged his military commander, General Irwin McDowell, to advance on the Confederate forces near Manassas, Virginia, roughly 30 miles south of Washington.  McDowell insisted that he needed more time, however, arguing that the Union army of volunteers was not ready.  He even  told the President that “this is not an Army!”  Lincoln agreed, but also observed “you are green but they are green as well.”  Capturing the railroad junction at Manassas would also provide the Union Army with a staging point to then proceed towards the newly created Confederate capital in Richmond, Virginia.

Clearly outnumbering the forces commanded by Confederate General Beauregard at Manassas Junction, McDowell’s army departed Washington both deliberately and optimistically.  His optimism hinged on the hope that a second Confederate Army under General Johnston would be pinned down by another Union Army in the Shenandoah Valley and therefore be unable to reinforce  Confederate forces in Manassas.

McDowell began his attack at 5:30 in the morning. By midday it appeared that the Federals would destroy Beauregard’s army, to the delight of the crowd of onlookers from Washington. Many had driven in carriages from the capital to enjoy a picnic lunch on the warm summer day and watch the anticipated rout of the rebel army.

But McDowell halted the attack for roughly two hours at noon to reorganize his green troops for the final assault.  Unfortunately for the Union, Confederate General Johnston arrived by railroad with his army of 12,000 during the lull in fighting. They attacked at roughly 4PM, routing McDowell’s untested army and sending it back toward Washington in a disorganized mob.  Fleeing soldiers dropped their weapons and became entangled with frightened civilians who were racing home in their carriages.

In its aftermath, both sides began to realize two harsh realities. First, the war would not end quickly.  Second, the nation now faced the greatest threat to its survival in its short history.

William Howard Russell, one of the first war correspondents, wrote the following dispatch about Bull Run for a British newspaper:
Little did I conceive of the greatness of the defeat, the magnitude of the disaster which it had entailed upon the United States.  So short-lived has been the American Union, that men who saw it rise may live to see it fall.

Winston Churchill once said “the farther back we look, the farther forward we can see.” As we mark the 150th anniversary of this first Civil War battle, Diamond6 is once again offering a workshop that shows modern leaders how they can apply the lessons from the Battle of Bull Run to their own organizations.

 

 

This popular workshop takes a close look at the leadership challenges faced during this battle, starting with a strategic overview that places it within a context that explains the events leading to that fateful hot summer day in 1861.  Throughout the day, participants travel the field following the battle chronologically. At each stop, a military historian describes what happened and the role key leaders played.  The workshop facilitator then uses this historical background to lead a discussion of various leadership principles that are as appropriate today as they were during this historic conflict.

These include such topics as strategic leadership, strategic vision, initiative, innovation, communications within an organization, “managing your boss,” emotional intelligence, etc.  While there are numerous insights that can be drawn from this event, the following are a few that resonate as much in the 21st century as it did in the 19th.

  • Emotional Intelligence is critical for leaders.  It is fundamental to building trust in any organization.  It helps the leader confront the organization’s reality and communicate that to the team.
  • The physical presence of a leader is a critical component particularly in crisis.
  • Understanding your own organization’s culture is fundamental to success.  It allows the leader to conduct self-assessments.  Ignoring organizational culture is a recipe for failure.  Leaders must remember — Culture eats strategy for lunch every day.
  • Defining the mission is critical for any organization.  This must include bringing together all the stakeholders to define the mission, and determining who has the authority and responsibility to execute it.

The discussion concludes at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.,where the evolution of strategic vision is discussed using Lincoln himself as a backdrop. If you are interested in learning more about our battlefield leadership workshops please send us an email at info@diamondsixleadership.com

———————————————————-
Dr. Jeff McCausland is Founder and CEO of Diamond6 Leadership and Strategy, LLC. His most challenging and unique leadership experience was leading and commanding 750 troops into the first Gulf War. He is proud to say that everyone came home healthy and safe.

———————————————————-
This article is from our July, 2011 newsletter. Click here to view all our newsletter articles and features.

Leader Wellness: Changing Corporate Health Culture

Workplace wellness has become quite the catch phrase in the world of corporate health and it seems like everyone is “doing it.” While large-scale wellness programs might be a good way for large companies and organizations to try and whip everyone into shape, I don’t think it’s the right approach for everyone.

In fact, for many organizations, the old adage “small things make a big difference” rings even more true for health and wellness initiatives. You don’t leap off the couch one day and decide to run a marathon. You train first. The same concept applies to workplace wellness. Trying to make a sudden change magnifies the potential for a failed program and leads to low participation rates and wasted resources implementing and running the program.

At Diamond6 Leadership and Strategy, LLC, we believe that health and wellness play a vital role in effective individual and organizational leadership. For this reason we are further developing workshops and offerings in this area to continue delivering an innovative and holistic approach to leadership challenges.

During recent workshops, participants discussed ways to integrate meaningful yet simple health and wellness changes into their organizations. Here are some examples of what other organizations are doing that inspired our participants. I hope they will give you some ideas and inspiration as well.

Active Meetings
John Fahey, CEO of National Geographic magazine has an open invitation for anyone in the company to join him for his lunch-time bike ride. For many employees, it’s a great way to get the bosses ear in an informal and relaxed setting. In a recent interview with NPR, Fahey said “what happens is, I find out sort of what the scuttlebutt in the hallways is. And sometimes, it’s totally ill-informed and sometimes, it’s spot-on. But it’s really good to know what people think.” Other ways of incorporating this concept is to work in a daily 20-30 minute walk around the school track or circle the block a few times. The important thing to remember is s to be consistent and make sure that other managers in the organization support attending the sessions. You will be seen as an approachable leader who takes fitness seriously and knows how to integrate it into your daily life.

Dump the Doughnuts
Who made the rule that doughnuts, bagels and pastries are required in the waiting room, at meetings or company events? Chef Ann Cooper (also known as the “Renegade Lunch Lady”), the Director of Nutritional Services at Berkeley U.S.D. asked the same question about school lunches. She pushed the envelope and put salad bars into all Berkeley schools. In a 2007 Ted Talk Chef Ann Cooper said “everyone said it couldn’t be done…kids would spit in it….” Now, what does this have to do with the doughnuts at your next meeting? Challenge the assumptions about meeting food. Try healthier choices such as bananas, apples, pears, cucumbers, nuts, sliced cheese and hummus dip. Serve water and iced tea instead of soda. You may be pleasantly surprised that people will be excited about these changes. So much so that they will be encouraged to make healthier choices at other times. One added bonus, people will be more alert and participate more during the meeting because they won’t be overloaded on carbs and sugar.

Stop the Stress
Job and stress are often synonymous for many of us. According to the American Institute of Stress, nearly 1 million Americans are absent from work each day due to work-related stress. Stress not only has poor effects on us mentally but it can also lower immune function and even have a negative impact on our heart. The biggest problem with stress is that many of us don’t know how to deal with it properly. Providing people with “stress education” is an effective, affordable way to help people deal with stress in a healthy way. At Quantum Health in Ohio they have taken it just one step further. Employees created a “serenity room” a dimly-lit private room with massage chairs and soft music for people to relax and unwind. A recent Inc magazine article provides a comprehensive list of other ways to help reduce stress in the workplace.

———————————————————-
Tanya McCausland, N.E. is a holistic health and lifestyle coach and founder of EatFit. LiveWell. She has made it her mission to help individuals and organizations successfully make positive changes that will have a huge impact on their health, happiness and bottom line.

———————————————————-
This article is from our July, 2011 newsletter. Click here to view all our newsletter articles and features.

Welcome to the Diamond6 Newsletter

Welcome to the first issue of “Lead the Way,” Diamond6’s new newsletter

Since 2004, I have been conducting leadership development workshops and seminars for educators, business people, law firms, non-profit organizations and the like. As a recipient of this newsletter, chances are, you attended one of my events.

Last September, I founded Diamond6 Leadership and Strategy, LLC. Diamond6 is a leadership development and consulting business based on all the seminars and workshops I’ve taught over the last 30 plus years in the military and as a independent consultant. Diamond6 pursues a simple, compelling mission, to help develop effective and confident leaders so they can make a positive impact on their organization and the world.

People who attend our workshops leave with:
– clear strategies for implementing positive change
– insights into how they can further develop as a successful leader
– ideas on how their organization can be more innovative
– a team with whom they can confer with and discuss future decisions

In each issue, we will include leadership tips, strategies and resources. I will share current events and articles that will help you learn valuable leadership lessons from. Plus, we will offer an interesting feature on leadership health and wellness. We firmly believe you can’t be an effective leader unless you take good care of yourself and the practical nutrition and lifestyle advice we offer will be very useful for everyone.

In the past seven years we have received feedback telling us that our workshops are “life changing,” “eye opening,” and “the most valuable development workshop ever attended.” While these comments are incredible and generous, I’ve always found that our participants have been the ones who’ve taught me amazing lessons about leadership and opened my eyes to new approaches in developing leaders. I’m looking forward to continuing these seminars and workshops with current and future clients.

If you know of anyone who might be interested in leadership development, our innovative workshops or could benefit from the information we have to share please pass our newsletter on to them. You can also join us on Facebook by clicking “like” on our Diamond6 page. Help us spread the word!

All the best,
Jeff and the Diamond6 Leadership Team

——————————————————————–
Check out the articles in our inaugural July, 2011 issue:

Interview: The Future of the Armed Forces, Leadership, National Security

Ed Ross, former DoD senior executive, retired U.S. Army intelligence officer, and defense industry consultant talks with Jeff McCausland, U.S. Army, Ret., about the future of the U.S. Armed Forces, leadership, and national security. Mr. Ross is the host of The Ed Ross Hour on the USA Talk Radio Channel on Blog Talk Radio.

Listen to internet radio with EWRoss on Blog Talk Radio

The Death of Osama bin Laden

(Article published courtesy of The Carnegie Council)

May 1, 2011, the world learned of the death of Osama bin Laden, leader of al Qaeda and the mastermind of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States. In an unprecedented late night broadcast President Obama broke the news to the nation. The president’s remarks were somber and reflective. They were hardly celebratory, but he underscored that the search for bin Laden had been a top priority since his election. He explained that the attack had been conducted by a small group of special operations troops (later reported to be Navy SEALS) and that bin Laden’s body had been taken into custody to verify his identity. There were no U.S. casualties. Bin Laden was living in a million-dollar mansion in Abbottabad outside Islamabad and had been there for a number of years.

The president further emphasized that the U.S. effort had been relentless and that justice had been accomplished. This would seem now to leave us with four important questions.

CLICK HERE to read the full article.

Surprising Anniversary – Gettysburg 50 years later

We recently came across this incredible video telling the story of the 50th anniversary reunion of the Civil War which was held at Gettysburg in Central Pennsylvania. Thousands of Union and Confederate survivors came together for three days to find old comrades and remember the great loss of that war. With the war still fresh for most people these two sides staged an interesting and heartfelt re-enactment of Pickett’s Charge. View the video below to hear about this moving act of forgiveness.

After watching this video one of the principles we teach in the Gettysburg Leadership Seminar came to us – the need for leaders to “overcome.” Each of these survivors indeed had to overcome unimaginable odds to attend and participate in this reunion and we believe that leaders today can learn a tremendous amount from them.

William Faulkner is quoted saying “history is not was….history is.” At Diamond6 Leadership we endeavor to teach this in each one of our workshops and seminars. We use history to illustrate key leadership lessons and discuss concrete and specific changes leaders can make in their organization to affect positive and lasting change.

Has history influenced your leadership style? How and why?
What changes have you tried to make in your leadership style?

Change in the Middle East: a Longer View

(Article published courtesy of the Carnegie Council)

Events in the Middle East have continued to change so rapidly that it is nearly impossible to make any short term predictions. The dramatic if not historical changes that we have witnessed over the past eight weeks is a reminder of a saying by Lenin, “Sometimes decades pass and nothing happens; and then sometimes weeks pass and decades happen.” There appears to be a very real possibility that the United States may become directly embroiled in the conflict in Libya.

Still, it may be useful to examine the current military and security relationships that the United States has with several key countries that are experiencing dramatic political change. As Yogi Berra once said, “It is hard to predict anything, especially the future!” This is clearly true today, but one thing does remain certain. The United States has critical security relationships with a number of countries in the region. None of these are immune to the ongoing dramatic political changes that are occurring.

CLICK HERE to read the full article