Battlefields of Normandy, France

Over seventy years have passed since Allied armies landed in Normandy with the purpose of liberating western Europe and destroying Hitler’s Third Reich. Despite this passage of time and extensive writings on the landings in France, officers and historians are still intensely interested in D-Day and the Normandy campaign. A great deal can be learned about the U.S. Army’s and Allies participation in the Normandy campaign, and a detailed examination of the fighting yields timeless lessons and how each relates to contemporary leadership. We examine how soldiers performed in combat, how squads and platoons closed with and destroyed the enemy, and how the Army adapted methods to overcome a whole host of problems that it encountered in combat.

The battlefields of Normandy are the geographic embodiment of military tradition. Battle is the ultimate test of leadership. Battle inherently brings chaos, de facto lack of clarity, ambiguity, unpredictability, a pressing need for split-second decisions and often creates an environment where “true” information is lacking or not readily available — all leading to decision-making opportunities with life or death consequences.

This battlefield is alive today in that it teaches lessons to us all. Here we can understand the immutable lessons of war. Technology, demographics and politics may influence how wars are fought to some degree. But all wars share the same characteristics that soldiers and civilians alike must understand if they are to make informed judgments about the nature and character of today’s conflicts. The battlefield also teaches us timeless lessons about the human dimensions of conflict. War is the most complex of all human endeavors and the fear of violent death and the burden that comes with leading men to their death heightens and illuminates how leaders and led relate to each other in time of crises.

The Normandy Invasion, and D-Day specifically, is a rich and stimulating source of leadership insight relevant to the challenges (and opportunities) of the current global business environment. Planning, organization, communication, teamwork and initiative amidst profound and increasingly rapid changes in circumstance are as critical now to effective execution as they were in 1944.

Some of the reflections from the ride will be:

  • Building flexible organizations that execute in the midst of chaos and rapid change
  • Develop leaders who think strategically to prepare for complex and dynamic environments
  • Build strong coalitions, across cultures and generations, for competition in the global marketplace
  • Prepare the next generation of leaders
  • The impact of “fog of war” on operations
  • Communicating a vision
  • Managing and leading through chaos
  • Accepting the reality of the environment in order to solve the right problems
  • Importance of Cohesion
  • Command Climate
  • Courage – the courage to act with energy and resources available
  • Adaptability in the new efficiency
  • Stay focused on the main effort
  • Rest your “A” Team
  • Measure your Success, Not your targets hit

Day 1 begins with the airport pick up and Charles De Gaulle International in Paris. The trip to the Normandy region will take about 2-3 hours depending on traffic and we will stop for lunch along the way. We will check into our beautiful chateau in Crepon, France and unwind before dinner. We will have an early reception, dinner and overview of the events on Day 2.

Day 2 we will make our way and explore UTAH Beach, La Fiere Causeway, lunch in Ste Mere Eglise (82nd Airborne D-Day Objective), the German Cemetery in La Cambe, and Pointe Du Hoc the famous Ranger Objective. After a nice dinner and good French wine we will have an over view for day 3.

Day 3 will include Omaha Beach, Vierville and St Laurent Draws and we will spend several hours at the Normandy American Cemetery in Colleville sur Mer. Another wonderful dinner and briefing for Day 4.

Day 4 we will explore the British and Canadian beaches and have lunch with Madame Gondree in her famous Pegasus Café. The day ends with a dinner in Bayeux or Crepon with an after action review facilitated by Boardroom to Battlefield leadership specifically focused on the connections between the volatile circumstances of the battlefields and present day leadership of your corporation.

Day 5 we return to Paris for departure. If needed we can conduct our after action review over lunch and return to Paris for departure on the afternoon of Day 4.

Costs associated with this ride include:

  • Pick up delivery from/to Charles d Gaulle airport
  • 3-4 nights luxurious accommodation in Crepon or Bayeux France.
  • All meals and beverages throughout
  • Read ahead books and selected maps delivered prior to ride
  • A reception cocktail hour, dinner and briefing the night before staff ride
  • Transportation throughout the week.
  • World class staff ride facilitated by Boardroom to Battlefield former senior military officers who are all combat veterans with extensive knowledge of history, tactics and battlefield leadership.
  • Dinners with partial After Action Reviews (AAR) each evening
  • Memento gift of ride
  • Beverages & snacks throughout the day
  • All fees associated with Battlefields and Museums

Battlefields of Normandy, France