AAR: Ironclad Leadership Experience

As we close the first week of the year, The Iron Project is proud to announce that we’ve already accomplished one of our 2018 goals. On January 2 we conducted the inaugural Ironclad Leadership Experience at Kings Mountain National Military Park.

After Action Report (AAR)

0800 Commence Exercise (COMEX): We rallied our forces (9 total) at the morning’s Iron Project headquarters.  It occurs to us that we have gathered on N. DAVIDSON Street (named for local Revolutionary War patriot hero Gen. William Lee Davidson), in the city of CHARLOTTE (named for King George’s wife and queen), at a location approximately one mile north of the 1780 location of British Lord Cornwallis’ headquarters.  We are in the heart of the region Cornwallis described as a “hornet’s nest of rebellion”, and currently just 22 miles northeast Kings Mountain – the location of the pivotal battle that would turn the tide of the American Revolution.


For the next two hours we examined and contrasted competing VAPEs (Vision, Articulation, Persuasion and Exhortation) and C2 (command and control) models as we discussed the leadership relationships, challenges and decisions that shaped the strategic and operational environment between Great Britain and her colonies in the Americas from the mid-to-late 1700’s.

 We also ate donuts.

With the strategic leadership environment set, we were eager to dive to the tactical level to see how the leadership roles played out “on the ground.” Thus we issued an “IMMEDIATE EXECUTE MOVEMENT ORDER” to sally forth to Kings Mountain.

Then we ate more donuts.

1030 Rally Ironclad Pax at Kings Mountain National Military Park: We gathered forces here to commence our 1.5 mile circumnavigation of the compact battlefield while linking leadership challenges from the battle to our own modern challenges. How did Major Winston handle a major setback? What was the relationship between Chronicle and Hambright? How did Cleveland and Shelby succeed? What was Hoover doing here? How did the opposing forces choose different C2 models? Why Campbell? What did Ferguson do right or wrong?


The sun was out. The temperature was down, but the discussion was up. A mom ran up the steep incline Campbell’s men had scaled. She pushed a jogger stroller. That was strong. We did some push-ups (also strong!).

1230 We gathered at Major Pat Ferguson’s cairn: We thoughtfully considered what occurred here so long ago, and our freedoms that come at a dear price. We took a few moments to voice ways in which we might use the day’s lessons to be high impact leaders in our own missions. We bowed our heads to say a few words.

Finish Exercise (FINEX)

SUMMARY: Leadership and teamwork are vital for success. Too often these topics are left to chance, or relegated to occasional “e-training” or presentations that are less-than-memorable. We encourage you to put away your .ppt and put on your boots. The TIP Ironclad Leadership Experiences are designed to provide enjoyable, memorable and impactful leadership development opportunities. Email info@TheIronProject.com for more information.

Rob Cannon