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January 2013

Bringing the Boardroom to the Battlefield

From @StaffRideGuy NEWSLETTER Traverse City Chamber & Michigan SBA take members on a Staff Ride to Chickamauga

March 25, 2013

•Your Chamber is partnering with the Small Business Association of Michigan.

•SBAM will bring six executives from other parts of the state, making this peer-to-peer learning opportunity a regional experience.

We would like you to be one of the eight from TC!

Much More Than a Tour

Staff rides challenge participants to analyze problems, analyze leader behavior, assess critical situations, and develop courses of actions. Additionally, leaders learn a new or refresh past learning on teamwork, communications, strategic planning, execution, motivation and logistics.

During our staff rides we examine the strategic situation that led to the campaign, the key leadership decisions, and the successes and failures of the participants. We ask staff ride participants to analyze all aspects of the campaign and its battles and to share and discuss the leadership lessons learned.

How it Works

Applying real life historical examples to today’s business environment

Staff Rides are used by the military to teach their leaders for a variety of reasons. Staff Rides require a visit to actual battlefields where life and death decisions were made under stressful circumstances and without the benefit of “perfect information.”

While technology frequently changes, humans generally don’t. We are still subject to the same emotions and feelings our ancestors felt. If we can study how others have managed and led under less than favorable conditions and dealt with uncontrollable variables, then we can perhaps learn how to improve our own decision making.

Experience Reality

Maps and diagrams are sterile aids which can assist, but not replace, actual visits to historical locations where leaders made their decisions. Seeing what they saw and walking or riding where they walked or rode brings us closer to understanding how they were influenced to make their decisions.

Leadership Lessons

The staff ride will consist of three days of instruction and facilitation. The leadership lessons will be in the following areas:

•Decision making
•Integration of technology
•Synchronization of diverse units
•Proper use of best practices
•Understanding the competition
•Strategic, operational, and tactical planning and execution
•Impact of the senior leader
•Expert Guidance


This battle, fought in September 1863, was the most significant Union defeat in the Western Theater of the American Civil War and involved the second highest number of casualties in the war, following the Battle of Gettysburg. It is a battle marked by extraordinary leadership and by exceedingly poor leadership. It is a testimony of courage and resourcefulness with lessons about missed opportunities. Our staff ride is a case study in leadership marked by tenacity, resilience, and personal commitment. We will also focus on communication, planning, situational awareness, and dealing with uncertainty.

What’s Included

•Local ground transportation
•Breakfast and dinner at local restaurants
•Boxed lunch and refreshments throughout the day
•All instruction materials (Workbook, maps, etc.)
•Backpack/messenger bag
•Polo shirt with the event logo

How to Prepare

Participants should be prepared for being out-of-doors all day and in relatively rugged conditions.

We will provide a recommended packing list so that participants come prepared for the event.

Each day will consist of 1) the battle site tours and discussions and 2) a debrief and lessons learned session at the hotel in the evening to fully develop the lessons learned.


“I highly recommend the immersion leadership training program. I gained new perspectives for evaluating daily challenges and opportunities. The staff ride provided great insights, reminders, and friendships that I value and reflect on regularly.”

- Bonnie Alfonso, Founder and President, Alfie Logo Wear

“The TCACC’s leadership staff ride was an amazing opportunity to view community and business challenges from an uncommon vantage point. I strongly support the staff ride program. It is a transformational opportunity for future leaders to gain and apply adaptive problem-solving skills. “

- Jim Stilley, CEO, NW MI Surgery Center

Each day will consist of

1.The battle site tours and discussions and

2.A debrief and lessons learned session at the hotel in the evening to fully develop the lessons learned


Contact Laura Oblinger at (231) 995-7103 or laura@tcchamber.org or Doug Luciani at (231) 995-7108 or luciani@tcchamber.org.


Quick Links

Applied Battlefield Concepts LLC adopts the US Army's Senior Leader Development Program (SLDP) tools for professional and management development and training in non-military organizations. The Corporate Staff Ride is our first product.
The Corporate Staff Ride is flexible in design and can be developed internally to address the specific leadership development and team-building issues of any organization. The cost of a developing and implementing a customized APPLIED BATTLEFIELD CONCEPTS LLC Corporate Staff Ride is $25,000-$50,000 plus expenses.
An intensive, experiential learning-based, leadership exercise conducted on the site of the "bloodiest day" in American history. The battle ended all hope of foreign intervention and was a major strategic Union victory, but the decisions, indecision, blunders, and perfectly calculated risks are a rich source for studying leadership in action at the pinnacle.
Structured around the Saratoga Campaign, 1777, this staff ride explores the most decisive strategic encounter of the Revolution, pitting the vainglorious, but diversely talented British General "Gentleman Johnny" Burgoyne against the flagrantly ambitious and resentful Northern Continental Army commander, Gen. Horatio Gates. Minutes from Albany in an almost untouched condition amid beautiful surrounding (and manifold attractions).