Leading in Leadership Development

By , Wednesday, November 03, 2021

It’s often said that the toughest test of leadership is managing through a crisis. Founded on the concept of translating military leadership principles to educate executives in the private and public sectors, Thayer Leadership has been readying corporate leaders to ace that challenge since its inception a little over a decade ago.

Then came March of 2020, when Thayer faced its own leadership litmus test. First, Covid-19 derailed a business model largely dependent on gathering corporate groups for a blend of custom in-person applied academic and experiential sessions set against the iconic backdrop of The Historic Thayer Hotel, located on the grounds of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Second, the company’s executive director and one of Thayer’s founding partners, Karen Kuhla McClone, Ph.D., who designed its curriculum and ran its programs, was sidelined by a cardiac arrest. 

To have your business revenue drop to nearly nothing and a top leader suddenly out of commission was the kind of one-two punch that could have proved devastating to any business. For Thayer, however, it became something else entirely—a crucible and a testament to the level of resiliency that strong leadership development practices can provide. 

“Karen built this organization, and she trained everyone on our leadership team,” says Dan Rice, president of Thayer Leadership, a West Point graduate, combat veteran and author of West Point Leadership: Profiles of Courage. “When she was suddenly out for several months during a time that our whole company had to pivot, the junior leaders stepped up to continue her vision. It was a classic example of strong development, everybody responded incredibly well because she had trained them incredibly well.” 

Now recovered and back at Thayer, Kuhla McClone shares that view. “When these adverse events hit, our team members were able to carry on and to reimagine the organization to serve our clients during the pandemic by pivoting to digital learning programs,” she says. “It was a demonstration that we practice what we’ve preached in terms of preparing leaders to navigate in a VUCA—Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous—environment.” 

Read the full article here: https://chiefexecutive.net/leading-in-leadership-development/


Karen Kuhla McClone, Ph.D.

Karen was born in Washington, D.C. and now resides in New York. She attended Virginia Tech where she received a BS degree in Business Management and an MS degree in Education. Karen earned a PhD in Education from the University of Virginia. She is the recipient of a National Research... Read More +

Daniel Rice

EXPERIENCE Dan is the President of Thayer Leadership and a 1988 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. In 2010, Dan co-founded Thayer Leadership along with four other West Point graduates with the mission of bringing the world to West Point and bringing West Point leadership to the... Read More +

Brigadier General Maureen LeBoeuf, Ed.D.

ExpertiseLeadership development, wellness, keynote speaker, executive coach ExperienceMaureen spent 28 years in the U.S. Army, where she held various staff and leadership positions, as well as flying UH-1 helicopters in the continental United States and Europe. Most noteworthy was her assignment as the Professor and Head of the Department of... Read More +

Brigadier General Rebecca Halstead

ExpertiseInspirational speaking (nationally and internationally; corporate and academic), developing leader training programs, leader coaching, consulting and advising, strategic level leadership, logistics, supply chain management, asset protection, physical security, risk management, diversity and inclusion, coaching and mentoring. Experience Following 27 years of service in the U.S. Army and retiring after achieving... Read More +

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West Point Leadership: Profiles of Courage
By Daniel Rice (USMA '88) & LTC John A. Vigna (USA, Ret.)