The ALFI Corporate Staff Ride at the Battle of Gettysburg


A Proven Military Training Tool for your Boardroom

The concept of staff rides was first developed by Count Helmuth von Moltke, the 19th century Prussian general and military theorist who once wrote that “No battle plan survives contact with the enemy.”  The Count believed that only the opening stages of a campaign could be effectively planned: all other decisions happened according to the needs of the moment.  Von Moltke, together with a hand-picked group of young staff officers, would visit sites where he felt conflict was likely to happen with future European enemies.  He and his students could thus envision the exigencies of the battle on what military historian William Robertson calls the “three dimension chess board of terrain.”  

The staff ride is no longer for military personnel alone.  Over the past eight years ALFI has adapted the practice for executive management and leadership development training. The corporate staff ride draws on the popularity of experiential learning while exploiting the intensity of combat to dramatize decision-making under the most extreme circumstances. 

Gettysburg is the geographic embodiment of the American military tradition. Here soldiers from every corner of the United States experienced the horrific sights and sounds of the bloodiest battle ever fought in North America.  It represented what soldiers call the “culminating point” of the war.  Before the battle the end state of the war was in question.  After the battle the end was determined.  The only question for the next two years would be how long it would take for the Union to win and what the butcher’s bill would be.

This battlefield represents more than the turning point in the Civil War.  You will enter hallowed ground.  It is the place where soldiers visit to understand their heritage.  For over a hundred years they recount the many heroic events here as examples of how American soldiers should act under fire.  The stand of woods south of Little Round Top where Joshua Chamberlain held the line is a shrine to the unique form of American military leadership under fire.

The battlefield teaches lessons to us all.  Gettysburg has long been regarded as a laboratory for future war.  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.

This is a staff ride not a battlefield tour.  The battlefield is simply a metaphorical experience, an intellectual vessel that you must use to understand how human beings act in time of crises. You must filter what you see here through the lens of your own experiences.  We will help you look inwardly and reflect on how what was done here influences your own life and times.  If you leave this place with a renewed awareness of the human condition then you will understand why soldiers study and revere this very sacred ground.

Members of our team will meet and collaborate with you and your organization to customize and tailor the offerings to meet your organization goals and objectives to guarantee the maximum return on your investment. Examples could be to 1) focus on a particularly important aspect of the company, 2) invest in leadership development at a specific management level, or 3) explore leadership issues relevant to the entire corporation.

The process begins several weeks before the event when each member of your team receives a read ahead packet that includes a battlefield booklet with map boards to begin their own study of the battle.

Our ride will examine leadership from both the Government and Military perspective during the months and weeks leading up the battle.  You will learn from former senior Military Officer and ALFI personnel who are all combat veterans with extensive knowledge of history, tactics and battlefield leadership.  

Some of the reflections from the ride will be:

  • Inspiring others to action
  • Individual and team success
  • Managing Risk
  • Capitalizing on momentum
  • Leading by example
  • Creating conditions for success
  • Management and leadership during chaos
  • Effective Communication
  • Importance of intelligence
  • Relationships and trust
  • Data and Knowledge Management
  • Friction & Will
  • Ends, Ways and Means
  • Indirect Versus Direct Leadership
  • Seeing the Battlefield (Imaging)
  • Thinking in Time
  • Mission is the Heart, intent is the Soul
  • Intent is a two Edged Sword
  • Collective Versus Individual Genius
  • Sometimes a commander has to order things done
  • Decisions-making when the Blood is Up
  • During turbulent times even a genius can be a victim of his past
  • Beware of the Marbled Man
  • Consensus Versus Compromise
  • Unlikely Leaders
  • Small Units Make a Difference
  • Innovation from below
  • Tyranny of the Mundane

The first day begins with the participants’ arrival in the afternoon at the Antrim 1844 Hotel in historic Taneytown, MD.  These are unique luxurious accommodations that served as General George Meade’s headquarters prior to the battle. Arrival is followed by a reception, dinner, briefing and a strategic overview of the battle.  After breakfast the second day, the group boards a private charter bus for a short ride to the battlefield.  The staff ride takes an off the beaten path to examine critical aspects of the battle but we also visit important sites such as Little and Big Round Top, Cemetery hill, Culp’s Hill, the Peach Orchard and the Wheatfield.  We will follow the events of the morning then break for lunch and a partial After Action Review briefing at the historic Herr Tavern.  During the afternoon portion of the ride we will retrace the footsteps of Pickets Charge. The day endsback at the Antrim Hotel with a dinner an after action review facilitated by Dr. Scales specifically focused on the connections between the volatile circumstances of the battlefield and present day leadership of your corporation.

The cost of the ALFI corporate Staff Ride at Gettysburg is approximately $3000 per person for up to 25 members of your staff. A 50% deposit is required to schedule your event.

Costs associated with this ride include:

  • World class staff ride facilitated by renowned historian MG (ret) Robert Scales
  • Two nights Luxurious accommodations at The Antrim 1844 hotel
  • A reception cocktail hour, dinner and briefing the night before staff ride
  • Breakfast prior to departure on ride
  • Lunch with After Action Review (AAR) at the historical Herr Tavern
  • Beverages & snacks throughout the day
  • Transportation from hotel to/in and around the Battlefield and return
  • A reception, dinner and After Action Review (AAR) following the ride
  • Read ahead packet including Battlefield Booklet, Selected Reading booklet, DVD and Book -  Killer Angels
  • Memento gift of ride
  • Beverages & snacks throughout the day
  • All fees associated with National Battlefield

** The ALFI Corporate Staff Ride is adaptable and flexible.  We can tailor it to meet your needs by adjusting the timeline and events. The ride can be shortened or lengthened to meet your corporate needs and the cost will be adjusted accordingly.

Watch our site or register with ALFI for announcements of upcoming Staff Rides for individuals, or if you are interested in booking a customized Staff Ride for your small group (at any one of our three current sites or one of your choosing), please contact Greg at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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