D-Day Veteran Richard Keegan, in an interview with the BBC, put it like this: “We were trained in teamwork, and the teamwork was the thing that counted most.” Veteran Ed Chappell, visiting Omaha Beach on D-Day’s 70th anniversary, told a group of students, “It was teamwork like you’ve never seen teamwork before.” And, just last week, Veteran John T. Siewert told the USO, “We were trained to do something, and we knew if every man did his job, then everything was going to be okay.”
Under the leadership of General Dwight Eisenhower, men from different backgrounds, different countries, and different branches of the military came together to achieve something they never could have alone.
Consider these words of praise from Eisenhower following the landings.
Each of us can learn from this example: we accomplish more together. Eisenhower understood the importance of teamwork. He led with an emphasis on working together, and praised his subordinates when they combined efforts toward a common goal. Ten years after D-Day, in a statement as eloquent and profound now as it was the day he wrote it, Eisenhower continued to credit teamwork as the value most responsible for our success against the Nazi regime.
Eisenhower’s statement on the 10th Anniversary of the Landing in Normandy:
D-Day Close to Home
Serving in the Normandy invasion were two family members of our own team: Joseph C. Baniszewski, father of Tigrett Corp. instructor and guide John Baniszewski, and Peter George Fekas, uncle of Antigoni Ladd, co-founder of Tigrett Corp. We honor their service and their memory.
D-Day, the Naval Perspective
Tigrett Leadership Academy has been on numerous TV and radio talk shows recently, as the country celebrates the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Discussions ranged from why D-Day is important for schools to teach today, to debates over which nations and military services should get credit for the success of the D-Day landings.
For fresh insights on D-Day, we wholeheartedly recommend two books by one of our favorite instructors, Dr. Craig Symonds. The first, Neptune: The Allied Invasion of Europe and the D-Day Landings, gives credit to the massive naval operations that made D-Day possible. And if you become a fan of this colorful and insightful writer, dive into, World War II at Sea: A Global History. Or, you may take a quick look at Symonds on YouTube covering his WWII books.
In its latest survey of more than 800 business leaders from more than 35 countries and across all major industries, global research and advisory giant Gartner, Inc. identified growth as 2019’s top business objective. Couple this with studies demonstrating an alarming 35% drop in employee discretionary effort from 2014 to 2019, and it’s easy to wonder how this objective can be met. “At the same time business leaders have key objectives around growth,” Gartner VP Leah Johnson says, “we’ve got a relatively unmotivated workforce, a tight labor market, and we’re contending with a number of important and visible political and social issues.”
It begs the question: Is growth even possible in our current environment? Johnson is adamant it is—provided business managers lead the right way. “Employee experience is huge for 2019,” she says, explaining that current thoughts about ethical leadership have evolved to include employers who care about their employees’ emotional needs and provide training to ensure their future success in the changing world.
As leaders, where can we learn about this “evolved” ethical leadership? From whom can we learn to lead in a way that leads to growth? The answer might surprise you. History best remembers George C. Marshall as the driving force behind the Marshall Plan, which provided billions in aid to post war Europe. Few, however, realize his leadership style was directly responsible for a fortyfold growth in our armed forces, and that the groundbreaking leadership principles he applied during his career are exactly what today’s employees are looking for.
A quick look at Marshall’s leadership history provides three important lessons:
Business growth depends on successful leadership. George Marshall often said, “The soldier’s heart, the soldier’s spirit, the soldier’s soul are everything,” and he provides a powerful example of what we can accomplish when we lead people, rather than employees. Ethical leadership means more than simply leading with integrity, it also means leading with empathy.
Are you wondering how to lead more effectively? Would you like your managers to learn how to better motivate their teams? Let us help! Our unique approach to leadership training harnesses the power of experiential learning to teach time-proven leadership methods that get results. Let us share more leadership lessons from George Marshall in a workshop or staff retreat. You bring the team members, and we’ll create an immersive learning program, linking timeless historical examples with your individual workplace issues.
JOIN THE CONVERSATION!
George C. Marshall understood that to lead effectively, he must lead the person, and not just the soldier. What are some ways we could better lead our people? How could improved morale lead to better business? What changes would you like to see in your department? Please share your stories and ideas in the comments section, below.
Author of the Declaration of Independence, third president of the United States, first Secretary of State, Minister to France and founder of the University of Virginia, Thomas Jefferson continues to inspire people today. A skilled diplomat, philosopher, architect, archeologist, inventor, writer and musician, Jefferson is often referred to as “America’s Leonardo Da Vinci.” But, while his accomplishments are impressive, it is some of his actions that provide leadership lessons we can emulate. Consider the following piece of history:
In the years leading up to the Revolutionary War, American colonies traded extensively across the Mediterranean Sea. During this time, British tribute treaties—exorbitant fees paid to North Africa’s Barbary States for the right to use international waters near their shorelines—protected American trade ships. But, when the American colonies broke away from English rule, we lost this protection. Barbary pirates immediately attacked our ships, captured American sailors and held them as slaves, demanding ransom far beyond what our new nation could afford.
Crippled by these attacks, American trade across the Mediterranean stopped almost entirely. In 1784, Congress decided it would be cheaper to pay tributes to the Barbary States than to lose the income the trade route provided, and it appointed Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin to negotiate the fees. Jefferson, adopting a stance well ahead of his time, advised against giving in to the pirates’ demands, stating, “Our trade to Portugal, Spain and the Mediterranean is annihilated unless we do something decisive.” In short: We should not negotiate with terrorists. Unfortunately, no one listened, and Congress appropriated money for tributes—but the attacks continued.
Within months of George Washington’s election as president, pirates from Algiers had captured 11 American ships and more than 100 American prisoners. Jefferson, serving as Washington’s Secretary of State asked the President to declare war on the pirates, stating the tribute payments would only fund the attacks into perpetuity. Washington did not heed this advice, and sent diplomats to negotiate for the prisoners’ release, but without success. Washington agreed to pay Algiers a sum so large, the United States had to borrow money just to cover the initial payment.
When John Adams became president in 1797, he continued to pay the tributes. Jefferson, in a strongly worded letter, urged Adams to take military action against the pirates, stating, “Justice is in favor of this opinion! Honor favors it!” President Adams disagreed, and by 1800, the United States was paying 20% of its annual revenue to the pirates.
When Jefferson took office as president in 1801, tension between our new nation and the Barbary pirates was at an all-time high. Believing the tributes only made the pirates more greedy and violent, Jefferson announced there would be no more payments. When Tripoli demanded a lump sum of $225,000 in addition to its annual tribute of $25,000, Jefferson refused to pay, and Tripoli declared war. Already prepared, President Jefferson sent our newly equipped Navy by sea and a detachment of Marines by land to defeat the pirates and establish a lasting legacy that American citizens would not bow to terrorists.
A careful examination of this narrative reveals more than is, at first, apparent. Jefferson saw the solution, almost from the start, but no one listened. We, as leaders face similar challenges where we can only affect change within our scope of power. So, what do we do when the problem extends beyond what we can directly control?
Thomas Jefferson often said, “Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act!” Jefferson didn’t give up when his suggestions were rejected—not the first time, and not the 20th time. Rather than feel defeated that he couldn’t persuade those in power to make a change, he concentrated on taking action where he could: He bought a copy of the Koran and studied it intently so he could understand the religious beliefs driving the attacks. He interviewed sailors who had been taken captive by the pirates, asking questions about the geography of the area, and he spent time with military officers, learning about warships and strategy and what our military needed to be successful during battle. Jefferson did the prep work to create forward change, and when the opportunity to enact that change presented itself, he was ready. Jefferson didn’t stand on the sidelines, watching others; he stayed in the game. How much do we accomplish when we do, too?
Are you wondering how to keep your team motivated in a challenging situation? Want to learn how to identify the small, actionable steps in a larger problem? Our unique approach to leadership training harnesses the power of experiential learning to teach time-proven leadership methods that get results. Let us share more leadership lessons from the heroes of history in a workshop or staff retreat. You bring the team members, and we’ll create an immersive learning program, linking timeless historical examples with your individual workplace issues.
LET’S LEARN FROM EACH OTHER!
Thomas Jefferson understood that leaders should always push forward. What are some small steps you’ve taken to solve large problems? Or, what do you wish you’d done differently? Please share your stories and ideas in the comments section, below!
Women’s History Month, 2019, opens on a world in flux. The #MeToo Movement is in mid-swing, providing a voice to long-silenced victims of sexual harassment in the workplace, financial and human rights experts search aggressively for ways to close the gender pay gap, and for the first time since its initial proposal in 1923, the Equal Rights Amendment—guaranteeing equal rights to women under the United States Constitution—could be passed into law.
In spite of this, the World Economic Forum predicts it could still take another 100 years before we close the equality gap between men and women. Are we bound by this dire prediction? The example set by one of our nation’s most important leaders, Eleanor Roosevelt, challenges us to believe we’re not.
Speaking in practical terms, however, believing in change is only half the battle. How do we, as leaders, facilitate this change we imagine? Again, Eleanor Roosevelt offers timeless leadership advice:
March 8, 2019 marked the 108th International Women’s Day, and while we have much to celebrate, we still have much to work toward. We, as leaders, can be instrumental in changing this, but only if we lead with courage.
At a time when navigating the changing waters of social reform can lead to confusion, the example of successful, historical leadership serves as a beacon. Eleanor Roosevelt often said, “Courage can be as contagious as fear,” and her human rights victories, both large and small, show us the forward change one determined leader can make in the lives of many.
Are you wondering how to lead your organization toward a fairer, more balanced workplace? Let us help! Our unique approach to leadership training harnesses the power of experiential learning to teach time-proven leadership methods that get results. Let us share more leadership lessons from Eleanor Roosevelt in a workshop or staff retreat. You bring the team members, and we’ll create an immersive learning program, linking timeless historical examples with your individual workplace issues.
According to a 2018 Gallup poll, 49% of U.S. citizens believe the state of moral values in America is “poor,” and nearly 75% believe our moral values are “getting worse.” In the business world, a recent study by LRN, a giant in ethics and corporate leadership education, found that only 23% of employees believe their managers are moral leaders, and only 17% say their leaders would defend someone unfairly treated in the workplace.
In spite of these numbers, 60% of those polled stated their leadership directly asks for and expects their loyalty. An effective leader should understand loyalty must be earned. But what does it take to earn your peoples’ trust?
To build relationships of trust, a leader needs not just personal morality but must communicate and model strong moral courage. In today’s complex, shifting social environment, who can be this example? Perhaps a leader from our nation’s past can be a beacon.
It is July 5, 1852, in Rochester, New York, and a crowd of more than 600 white abolitionists has come to commemorate the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The speaker is a young Frederick Douglass, 34 years old, tall with broad shoulders and a thick mane of dark hair. Douglass wears an iron expression as he stands and faces the room. He begins humbly, stating his nervousness at addressing such an assembly, and reflecting on the history of the United States and its promise of freedom for all. It isn’t long, however, before his true message becomes apparent.
Fellow citizens, pardon me, and allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here today? What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence?… I am not included within the pale of this glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us…
This Fourth [of] July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn…
What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless.
Imagine being in that crowd, on the other side of that biting oratory. Imagine being told all of your beliefs mean nothing if you simply hold them in silence.
Today, we recognize this speech as one of the most eloquent and influential rebukes of slavery in our national history. On July 5, 1852, it was an enormous risk, taken by a young man fueled by moral courage.
We can learn a lot from his example. At a time when we are navigating complex, shifting issues such as gender equity, privacy rights, and racial bias, employees are looking to their leaders for answers. We can learn from Douglass and speak bravely across the gap created by long-held silence.
We, as leaders, have the unique opportunity to help build the new normal in the workplace. Studies show that employees are seventeen times more likely to follow leaders who not only take a firm stand on moral issues but are willing to talk about their reasons for doing so. Such open leadership inspires loyalty and begins to build a strong backbone of morality that can be copied throughout the organization.
Are you wondering how to start this process within your own organization? Let us help. Our unique approach to leadership training harnesses the power of experiential learning to teach proven leadership methods that get results. Let us share the Frederick Douglass story in a leadership workshop or staff retreat. You bring the team members, and we’ll create a tailored, immersive learning program, linking timeless historical examples with your workplace issues.
SHARE YOUR STORY!
An effective leader understands that open dialogue is essential in elevating the moral consciousness of a company and increasing employee loyalty. What are some constructive ways we can cultivate a safe, respectful forum for such conversations to take place? What have you tried? Please share your stories with us.
To many Americans, the word “compromise” has become synonymous with the word “lose.” Historically speaking, this line of thinking is new. In fact, without our Founding Fathers’ willingness to embrace compromise and all it entails—openness and respect for another’s viewpoint, willingness to make concessions toward a shared, common goal, and a deep understanding that an “all or nothing” mindset threatens everyone’s interests—our government would not exist, as we know it.
It’s a sweltering Philadelphia summer in 1787, and 55 men in full dress and periwigs are crammed into the old Pennsylvania State House to frame a newer, stronger United States government. As they had determined, early on, to keep the meetings private, the windows are nailed shut, the doors closed against the breeze outside, and temperatures, tensions and tempers are high.
SCENE AT THE SIGNING OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES / HOWARD CHANDLER CHRISTY / 1940 / PUBLIC DOMAIN
The larger states propose the Virginia Plan, a bicameral legislature, with membership in both houses allocated to each state proportional to its population. The smaller states put forth the New Jersey Plan, arguing for a single house legislature with each state represented equally within its body.
Nobody can agree. The larger states defend their position, stating because they contribute proportionally more to the nation’s defensive and financial resources, they are entitled to proportionally greater representation in its legislature. The smaller states argue the perpetual union originally envisioned only functions when each state is given equal voice. As the weeks pass, the debates devolve into arguments. Alexander Hamilton accuses the small states of seeking “power, not liberty,” and Gunning Bedford, Jr. famously threatens on behalf of the small states to, “find some foreign ally of more honor and good faith...” Delegates from both sides vow to reject any document that does not give them their way.
And this is where the story turns. Into this deadlock, Roger Sherman and Oliver Ellsworth propose what is now known as the Great Compromise—essentially, a marriage of the Virginia (large state) and New Jersey (small state) Plans—which would establish a dual system comprised of both proportional and equal state representation. At first, the delegates are uncertain, and most are inclined to pass on the idea. Then, elder statesman, Ben Franklin, rises to give them a simple story with a new perspective. “When a broad table is to be made,” he says, “and the edges of the planks do not fit, the artist takes a little from both and makes a good joint. In like manner here, both sides must part with some of their demands, in order that they may join in some accommodating proposition.”
Soon, both sides agree, and the angry stalemate that threatened to derail the writing of the United States Constitution dissolves into a productive union, working together to frame our government as we know it.
We take this governmental structure for granted, now, but for our Constitutional Framers, it required enormous cooperation and a willingness to focus on the common goal—a strong, functional United States government—over each side’s independent desires.
We can learn a lot from this example. The workplace is shifting. More often than not, advancement and change within corporate structure is team driven. As leaders, it is extremely important for us to lead others toward shared, core goals, and also help our teams resolve problems arising from different perspectives without destructive conflict. We don’t have all the answers, but if we lead with open minds and open ears, we can create forward change.
How do you begin to guide your team toward compromise? First, listen to all sides, then use simple metaphors to give perspective, and share these examples from successful leaders. Ronald Reagan told his aides on many occasions, “I’d rather get 80 percent of what I want than go over the cliff with my flag flying,” and Lin Manuel Miranda, summing up compromise in one of the most-loved pieces from Hamilton, wrote:
The Connecticut Compromise / Bradley Stevens / 2006 / U.S. Senate Collection
Two Virginians and an immigrant walk into a room
Diametrically opposed – Foes!
They emerge with a compromise
Having opened doors that were previously closed – Bros!
Let’s not be so determined to be right that we miss an opportunity to be successful.
Steve Watkins from Investor's Business Daily recently interviewed Antigoni Ladd, a founder and the executive vice president of Tigrett Leadership Academy, invoking her wisdom on setting goals, courage, and conviction.
You must persevere to get past those roadblocks that inevitably crop up in any venture. Get past them by having unshakable faith in what you're doing. That's how leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi and Eleanor Roosevelt forged ahead.
"Ask yourself what values and causes you believe in personally," said Antigoni Ladd, of the Gettysburg, Pa.-based company, which uses examples from history in its lessons.
Set your goals. Abraham Lincoln met with plenty of opposition in trying to unite the country under his vision, Ladd says. He wanted the U.S. to be a model of democracy for the world. That view helped him persevere even as he encountered fierce opposition.
"Persistence is doing whatever it takes to get you to your vision," Ladd said. "Lincoln was driven by his vision of what the U.S. should be. He was certain of what he wanted for the long term, so if he had a failure, he kept going."
Have conviction. Stick to your guns if you're confident in your ideas. Even when Winston Churchill was out of favor with British parliament before World War II began, he could see Germany was rearming. He gathered reports and studied the situation, Ladd says. Once he became prime minister, he was prepared. He sold Britain's war cabinet and the British people on the importance of going to war to stop Germany.
"He was so embedded in that vision of victory!" Ladd said.
Expect a roadblock. If you're striving to achieve something important, it's inevitable that you'll hit obstacles on the way.
"Any great accomplishment at one time was considered an impossible dream," said Joe Tye, CEOand head coach at Solon, Iowa-based consulting and training firm Values Coach. "The bigger the dream, the bigger the challenges."
Get ready. Prepare at all levels to persevere to get past hurdles, keep a positive outlook and have a clear vision of what you want to achieve to overcome them, Tye says. Many new businesses fail, but Tye says it's up to the owner. Leaders who persevere by making a call to one more bank or check in with one more potential client tend to succeed, he says.
"Businesses do not fail; owners quit," he said.
Keep at it. When Harland Sanders started trying to franchise his fried chicken concept he was rejected by many restaurants (legend has it he received 1,009 rejections) before succeeding. He had worked hard perfecting his combination of spices and method of cooking the chicken in a pressure cooker. Restaurant owners continually told him that they already knew how to make fried chicken. He forged on until he built it into Kentucky Fried Chicken.
"He knew what he wanted to accomplish and refused to give up," Ladd said.
Address the problem. It's vital to make sure your group doesn't start to lose faith if you encounter obstacles. If morale begins to slip, find the cause and deal with it. It might be a disgruntled member talking negatively or a communication problem you need to rectify.
"Once the cause is discovered and the situation can be corrected, the team morale will again enter a positive zone, all due to the perseverance of the team leader," Ladd said.
Know when to shift. Tye calls it a "broad and fuzzy line" between sticking to your guns and stubbornly persevering in your beliefs, even if your plan is unworkable.
"If something is not working, try something else, but don't quit," Tye said.
See opportunity. View hurdles as chances to achieve. Tye believes that Randy Pausch, the late Carnegie Mellon University professor who wrote "The Last Lecture," said it best: "Brick walls are not there to keep us out. Brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something."
What kind of leader does a country need when its citizens are polarized, their divergent views fanned by politicians and media? Can an individual reverse such a hostile mood and begin a healing process?
In today’s divisive rhetoric, we often forget that our country was just as passionately divided once before, and it took a civil war to resolve our differences. The leader who led our nation back into union offers us today a model of how to reach across the divisions.
“We are not enemies but friends,” Abraham Lincoln stated in his first inaugural address, reaching out to the seceding southern states. “Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection.”
He appealed to their shared past. “The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield, and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearthstone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”
Throughout his two terms as President, Lincoln’s speeches, his letters, and his actions reaffirmed the higher mission of the nation. We were a beacon of democracy, he pointed out, and the world was watching our example. A splintered nation would only show that a democracy could not resolve internal differences—just pack up and leave if you disagree.
“Our popular government has often been called an experiment. Two points in it, our people have already settled—the successful establishing, and the successful administering of it. One still remains—its successful maintenanceagainst a formidable [internal] attempt to overthrow it.”
Lincoln took every opportunity to reach out to the people to understand the importance of the war being waged. He visited troops, reminding them of the importance of their service. He wrote editorials to newspapers to explain his goals and make clear his priorities. And he accepted every opportunity to speak to the public.
Thus he came to Gettysburg, two years into a civil war, to honor the men lost in one of the bloodiest battles of the war. His words reminded those standing by the new cemetery on a cold November day that they had an obligation to take up the mantle of the warriors lost in battle and to re-connect to the values of the founding fathers.
“It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.”
The words he spoke that day were not, as is sometimes mistakenly stated, written on the back of an envelope. These were words he had written and spoken again and again, in his efforts to unite the nation by reminding people of their higher purpose.
In 1861 in New Jersey, he said: ”There must have been something more than common that those men struggled for... that something that held out a great promise to all the people of the world to all time to come.”
In Gettysburg, we celebrate the anniversary of that famous address on November 19—Remembrance Day—with full honors: military band, speeches, parades, a re-creation of Lincoln’s speech. For me, a child of immigrant parents, the most moving part of the day is the swearing in of new citizens from every part of the world, ready to become part of a nation that offers “a great promise to all the people of the world to all time to come.”
Surely Lincoln’s example can inspire us today to work for the higher view of our nation, what he called “the last best hope of earth.”
Ever feel you are not getting anywhere, despite all your hard work? Are you just plain tired, discouraged? Where can you seek inspiration to keep going?
Our team recently made two trips that re-charged our batteries, and both trips were based on the life of a great leader who pulled himself up from a childhood of poverty in small-town America to become a national leader. No, it was not Abraham Lincoln, but Dwight Eisenhower who reminded us that the American dream is still alive, that we can pull ourselves up.
In September, instructor Tara Wenzel traveled to Abilene, Kansas to run a workshop for the federal probation team from the state of Kansas. They not only wanted to tour Ike’s boyhood home, they had secured classroom space at the Eisenhower Presidential Library for the day-long workshop. To say that the setting helped set the mood of Ike’s tremendous achievements would be an understatement. Attendees toured the Library as well as the Eisenhower home where Ike and his brothers grew to adulthood.
Then in October, I traveled to Denison, Texas, to run the same class (“Lessons from Eisenhower & D-Day”) for two groups from the U.S. Courts of the Eastern District of Texas. In Denison, workshop attendees saw the home where Ike was born, seeing first-hand what a hard life Ike’s parents worked through—a home right on the railroad line (14 trains coming through each day), a house with no running water, and of course no air-conditioning (so the soot from those 14 daily trains came right through the open windows). Our fabulous tour guide, Maxine Minson, spoke emotionally of the amazing strength the Eisenhower parents passed on to their sons. How did people cope without our modern conveniences and have the energy to get past survival-level living to aspire to college and professional careers?
Said Ike, “I have found out in later years that we were very poor, but the glory of America is that we didn’t know it then.”
Despite their lack of money, David and Ida Eisenhower raised six boys—one becoming a lawyer, another an engineer, a banker, a pharmacist, a college president, and a military commander-later-U.S. President. What family values spurred this type of achievement?
The boys learned through hard work, strong family values, and taking responsibility for themselves and one another. In a 1946 speech to graduating students at Gettysburg College, Ike described Abraham Lincoln in terms reminiscent of his own values and upbringing. “Basic to his [Lincoln’s] genius for leadership was a willing acceptance of responsibility and a firm will to render honest service.”
In that same speech, Eisenhower went on to personalize that concept to everyone listening. “This basis is demanded of every one of us if the United States is to maintain its position in the world. For the measure of our leadership as a nation is the sum total of the character and sense of responsibility that each of us applies to our daily tasks.”
After leaving Denison, Texas, I was motivated once again—keep going, take responsibility, and continue to build your character. If you have the chance to visit Eisenhower’s Texas or Kansas homes, please stop and refresh your spirit.
To learn more about visiting these sites, click these links:
Tigrett Leadership Academy Instructor
In January 2015, Tara Wenzel retired from a 38-year career at the Department of Defense, where she worked in training, finance, intelligence analysis, signals collection, and counter-terrorism. Just a couple of weeks later, a close friend asked, “So, Tara, what will you do with the rest of your life?” She quickly dismissed the question as premature, but added that “I think I’d like to get into some kind of teaching, as I really enjoyed doing that during my government service.”
Tara’s friend pounced and insisted that she meet Tigrett co-founders Antigoni and Everett Ladd. Tara and the Ladds met shortly thereafter, and they hit it off immediately. By the spring of 2015, Tara was sitting in on Tigrett classes, which quickly led to team-teaching with Antigoni—and soon she was facilitating classes on her own.
Three years later, Tara is one of Tigrett’s most popular instructors, teaching Tigrett’s Lincoln program as well as the Eisenhower/Churchill program. She is also the lead guide of Tigrett’s “World War II in Gettysburg” tours, conducted in a partnership with Gettysburg Battlefield Bus Tours.
Recently, we had a chance to sit down with Tara for a brief “Q&A” about her career—and what “makes her day” when teaching for Tigrett.
How did you get into leadership training?
"I had spent a lot of time overseas doing the ‘hands-on’ and was able to bring these literal war stories back to the classroom and show my students that the stories I was telling to help them do their jobs better was directly responsible for making the world safer. That’s the passion I try to instill in my students, regardless of the job they do—to show them that they’re much, much more valuable than 'Oh I’m just a [fill in the job title] at their organization.' To see them get excited about their work with this new perspective is a total jazz for me.”
What prompted you to wear period costumes in your classes?
“It started during my technical training for the government. The subject matter could be somewhat boring and overwhelming, so I started wearing regional costumes and involving students in a discussion of the costumes’ significance—and they ate it up. In addition to remembering the costumes, the students later reported that they were retaining much more of the content. When I started training for Tigrett, I suggested the costume idea to Antigoni, and she let me try it. The rest is history (pun very much intended!).”
What makes the historical figures used in Tigrett training more compelling than modern business case studies?
“It’s the stories. While case studies have value—and we used countless such case studies in my years in government—they typically are just recaps of names, dates, and places. What makes the Tigrett programs so compelling are how relevant the challenges of historical figures are to 21st-century business challenges. For example, as a new President, Lincoln had to contend with issues—secession, a bickering cabinet, the Civil War, insufficient resources—that have remarkable, and vivid parallels to what organizations face in 2018. Such parallels also attach to Eisenhower and Churchill’s conduct of World War II.”
What do you most enjoy about working with Tigrett clients?
“Getting to know the participants. Because we spend so much time together, we have the opportunity to chat with them one-on-one—and learn from each other. It’s magical.”