From Then To Now: George Washington and 18 Days


I think you’ll like this from my individual leadership consulting earlier this morning. A client and I are going down George Washington River together. This morning, I asked a question about 18 days.

That was the span of time in 1775 from June 15 to July 3. At the start, on Day 1, Washington accepted the offered position of “General and Commander-in-Chief” of American military forces outside Boston. This was roughly two months after the exchange of gunfire and running battle at Lexington and Concord and a full year before American independence is declared. At the end, on Day 18, Washington and a group were outside Boston; he was conducting his first-ever inspection of the American army that he now formally led.

But here is the kicker, the key point.

In between Day 1 and Day 18 was the Battle of Bunker Hill. That was one of the bloodiest single-day engagements that would be fought in the eight-year War of the Revolution and one of the bloodiest days in the history of British North America going back two hundred years earlier. Unlike Lexington and Concord, the Battle of Bunker Hill was planned, pitched, and executed purposely, both sides colliding against each other again and again and again. It was formal, organized war at its worst. This was the shocking news that occurred while Washington was riding to the outskirts of Boston to take command in the field.

Just so you know, Washington was in New York City when he got the news of Bunker Hill.

So what about you? Have you ever started a particular project, initiative, or cause and then had a shocking new event occur soon thereafter? How did it change your next big decision or action in the project/initiative/cause? Did it alter your approach? Undercut or undermine it? Enhance or enrich it? Something else?

Answer this for yourself. It’s a good exercise. Feel free to reach out to me if you’d like to chat more about Washington’s 18 days and what they mean for you and your leadership.