Leadership, Tea, and 1773

Leadership, Tea, and 1773 Those eyeglasses on your face are 250 years old. Can you see well through them? Take a look over there, where a group of people are dumping tea in Boston harbor in December 1773. (for your leadership vision) A swath of my Redux entries for 2023 have, one way or another, featured the oncoming story of the Boston Tea Party of December 16, 1773. I write my Redux … [Read more...]

The 1920s As The 2020s: A Powerpoint Overview

Below is a 12-slide powerpoint overview of my Leadership Construct known as "20s-As-20s." It's a brief and high-level summary of how I believe the two decades of the 1920s and 2020s rhyme with each other—not repeat, but rhyme—in trends, events, and decision-points. I'm offering this to you free of charge. Below are supplemental remarks that provide slightly more context. If you'd like to explore … [Read more...]

The Run-Up Yardstick

THE RUN-UP YARDSTICK AMERICAN INSIGHTS FROM 1917, 1941, AND THE UKRAINIAN CRISIS OF 2022 This document supplements my Facebook Live show that I broadcast during the week of March 14, 2022. I shared in the show those aspects of American entry into World War I (April 1917) and World War II (December 1941) that struck me as useful in 2022 as the Ukrainian crisis continues to unfold as a potential … [Read more...]

A Short Talk On A Sunday Afternoon

This is a FREE leadership exercise. I invite you to use it. And when you're done, I invite you to reach out to me for a FREE second step (more about that below). Our topic is leadership and communication, though as you'll see, it's really a lot more than that. You'll move through Brigadier General Dwight Eisenhower's experience of his first significant meeting with Army Chief of Staff General … [Read more...]

The Declaration of Independence: Five Thoughts For Your Leadership

I offer these five thoughts for leadership, drawn from the Declaration of Independence. #1 The Declaration was the work of a committee. A group of five delegates got the call to form a committee to write a draft of the Declaration for review, editing, and completion. In addition, the Continental Congress constituted itself as a committee-of-the-whole. In this fashion each of the fifty or so … [Read more...]

Working Paper: Already In Your Home–Wave Two And K-16 Schools

For millions of Americans, Wave Two of the coronavirus pandemic is already here. It's in their homes. I'm referring to education, kindergarten through college-age, and the reality of students Zooming to their craft tables, classrooms, and lecture halls. Wave Two is already here for them and the adults who are part of their lives. Millions and millions of them. Wave Two is now and Zoom is the … [Read more...]

The Lost Holidays Of 1918 And 2020

Erased, wiped out, altered to a great extent. Our tradition and celebration of two holidays have been deeply affected by the pandemic. It's a shame. These words describe the influenza pandemic of 1918 and the coronavirus pandemic of 2020. Let's take a closer look at the two pairs of days that usually help track our year. The holidays 1918: Halloween and Thanksgiving 2020: Memorial Day … [Read more...]

Working Paper: The Second Month, Weeks 5-8, Today In 1918

lung samples, 1918 Week 5 (Days 29-36, Oct 6-13, 1918) From bad to worse. There is always a worse, and there is always a worst. The worse you feel in real time, in the present, and the worst is best known in hindsight, looking back. No matter, the worse and worst is the stage with the most extreme point of trouble, problems, and difficulties. The bad comes with the worse. For 1918's … [Read more...]

Working Paper: Today In 1918, First Month

Influenza Epidemic 1918 - Policemen in Seattle, Washington, wearing masks made by the Seattle Chapter of the Red Cross, during the influenza epidemic. (National Archives) This is your summary of the first 28 days of my Today In 1918 series. I offer it as a higher-level look with closing thoughts on ramifications for you. Estimated reading time: 20-40 minutes. Contact me if you wish to discuss … [Read more...]

One Young Woman–Covid 19, 1918, And Your Leadership

Thank you for seeking out more information from the experience of an unknown leader, 32-year old Edna Fletcher. Pictured above, she was a significant healthcare leader at Methodist Hospital (now Indiana University Health Methodist) in Indianapolis, Indiana. Below are brief points from her experience. I believe they can help you in your leadership right now and the days ahead. (Contact me at … [Read more...]

Abraham Lincoln, Ariana Grande, and the Anniversary of the Gettysburg Address

Ariana and Abraham. Grande and Lincoln. A warm June night in Manchester, England, UK. A cold November day in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, USA. Three hours in 2017 and three minutes in 1863. A universe apart. Across such a span, is there anything they can say to one another? I've thought about this question for more than a year. I've searched the span and I think the answer is yes. They can speak … [Read more...]

The Remarkable Speech of William Lough Jr.

(The posting below is for the use of my participants in the Cowles-Fogg book club. However, if you're a random visitor to my website, I certainly invite you to read this post. For the book club members, though, I'd ask you to consider whether or not Lough's comments would have been persuasive if you'd been sitting in the audience back in 1907. Would you have gone out the next day and changed your … [Read more...]

A Different View of History and John Kelly–A Reply To Noah Rothman

I'm a big fan of Commentary magazine, a faithful subscriber. My remarks below pertain to one of my favorite Commentary writers, Noah Rothman and his recent article entitled, “General Kelly's Disastrous Interview.” If you haven't read it, click https://www.commentarymagazine.com/american-society/john-kelly-bad-ideas/  before proceeding with my post. I offer my thoughts as a fan might at a football … [Read more...]

General Electric, the Indianapolis Colts, and the Link Between

What's the connection between the Indianapolis Colts of the NFL and General Electric? Reset. That's the term used by John Flannery, the new CEO of General Electric. After recent reports of dismal earnings and forecasts for GE, Flannery announced that this year was a “reset” year. He acknowledged, openly and clearly, that the massive corporation had not only failed to meet expectations, it … [Read more...]

73 Years Ago – A Saturday in March

If you don't want to know anything else other than listen to the speech, click https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjx3IqURT6I. If you'd like to take a couple of minutes and, I think, gain more out of it, read below--you'll see another link and can view the speech then. (Whichever you do, thanks for pursuing. All the best, Dan) This is the story. I want you as a leader to absorb it, work through … [Read more...]

3 Sharpened Pieces of the Puzzle

Here is your 2-minute video invitation to a leadership event that is like no other you'll attend in 2017. "3 Pieces of the Puzzle" prepares you to deepen your success as a leader during the Trump years ahead. Check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2h0rkOVPmig When you attend "3 Sharpened Pieces of the Puzzle," I'll offer you three takeaways for your leadership. I call them Paddles … [Read more...]

A Memory Alive

  Colin Powell is one of the most recognized figures in the American Experience of the late 20th century. Military officer, national security adviser, secretary of state, one-time potential presidential candidate, best-selling author, and more, Powell ranks among high as an influential leader in American life. In this short article, I'd like you to focus on one thing about Colin Powell. I … [Read more...]

Excavating January 30th

The Tet offensive began on January 30, 1968. As an event, it occurred throughout winter and spring of 1968. As a leadership story, it illustrates the powerful clash between facts and perceptions. Take a look at my 4-minute video here for a quick exploration of Tet and your leadership. After you're done, consider these questions for your leadership: Have I had an experience where I've … [Read more...]

Your Leadership And The Fog Of War

The fog of war is situational ignorance. The ignorance of conditions and circumstances exist in two frames of time, both the current/present and near-term future. The fog of war also has parts—that which is purely unknown, for one, but also those things that are so partially, hazily, and uncertainly known as to qualify as likely unknowns. Have you been in an event or lived out a story where … [Read more...]

Monument Making

I'd like to share a few thoughts with you about your leadership and the culture of your followers. But before I do, please take a moment (a total of six minutes and a few seconds) to watch both of my videos. Thank you in advance for doing so. Now, let's talk. Culture is an expression of both history and the past. The things you choose to celebrate, to honor at a particular time … [Read more...]

Almost Ready For Release–The Film in December 1942

The war. The Second World War. And one of the greatest movies of all time. 80 Decembers ago it was almost ready for release. If you want a glimpse into attitudes that Americans of that time had for the world at large, here's your chance to see it. Casablanca. You likely know the story of the movie. Bogart plays an American, Rick, who owns a bar/cafe in Casablanca, Morocco. To his shock, Ilsa, a … [Read more...]

Mitch Daniels and the Unlikely Duo

What do Mitch Daniels, Dwight Eisenhower, and Robert E. Lee have in common? Higher education leadership that looks surprisingly similar across 150 years. Purdue University President Mitch Daniels, former Governor of Indiana, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and CEO of Eli Lilly & Company, has garnered lots of attention. Daniels's achievements at Purdue reflect his … [Read more...]

Half a History

Do you know what a precedent is? Likely you do. For those a little foggy on the term, permit me to describe. But after I do, I want to warn you about the danger of precedent as the basis of how you understand—and much more importantly—use history in your life and leadership. But first things first. What's a precedent? A precedent is, according to my quick search, "an earlier action or event … [Read more...]

Leadership Now Workshop-March 1, 2013-Lincoln and Buy-In

A Special Service from Historical Solutions LLC & Dr. Dan Miller Challenging Your Mind Is To Learn, Know, & Grow as a Leader You as a leader are constantly wondering about buy-in—do my followers support my vision? How deep is their support? Will they stay the course? How can you prepare? An important way, often overlooked, is history. A creative, insightful knowledge of a specific … [Read more...]

A Forward-Looking Lens: Franklin Roosevelt, Barack Obama, And The Suggestions Of A Second Term

This Leadership Now Workshop is for leaders who spend a great deal of time looking ahead toward the next 2-3 years. I believe the second presidential administration of Franklin Roosevelt holds important clues as to the likely direction of the second presidential administration of Barack Obama. As a leader who plans, visions, and thinks ahead, you need to know these clues. The session will be … [Read more...]

Lincoln: The Movie

· The kernel of my reaction—I’ll watch it more than once in the movie theater, and will also buy a copy of the DVD for my home theater. I can’t endorse a film anymore than that. Go see it. (when you're done reading these bullet points, be sure to watch my video entitled "Lincoln and Me, Lincoln and You"--you'll find it in the video section of my website) · I was excited about this film from the … [Read more...]

The Leadership Now Walkshop-Learning You Will Never Forget

A Special Service from Historical Solutions LLC & Dr. Dan Miller To See, Smell, Touch, Hear, & Feel Is To Learn, Know, & Grow as a Leader What’s The Goal? To prepare you as a leader for the next big, shocking change What’s The Method? You are one of a 3-5 person group that walks to 5 places vital to the story of our 28-year old leader on July 9, 1862. Who Is He? Benjamin … [Read more...]

TIEs: Truly Important Elections-My 6 Choices

· Below are my choices for Truly Important Elections—the TIEs. They are 1800, 1864, 1896, 1940, and 1980. Feel free to suggest others. Be sure to include a short explanation of why you think so. · 1800. Thomas Jefferson defeated John Adams in what was the world’s first example of a peaceful transition of power from one perceived organized group to another. In other governmental systems the … [Read more...]

Challenge Your Thinking III – What Really Happened Next

Bob Woodward said that Graham seemed nervous when she asked him if everything about the Watergate Hotel break-in story would come out, would they get the full story and be able to run it in the newspaper. Everything was riding on it--the Post's stock price, reputation, and viability as an organization. The question hung in the air as the eggs benedict began to chill. Woodward answered, "It … [Read more...]

The 8-Year Old Girl

· This true story comes from the memoirs of Edward Porter Alexander. He was a Confederate officer from Georgia, the author of what’s considered to be one of the best war memoirs of the Civil War. You’ll see his book pop up consistently in footnotes or endnotes of nonfiction books on the Civil War. Before I forget, the year was 1863, not 1864. October. Sorry for the slip. · Take a breath and … [Read more...]

Challenge Your Thinking IV – What Really Happened Next

Dr. William Douglass walks into his study, opens his desk drawer, places the periodical inside, and then swiftly closes the drawer and locks it. Done and done, he thought to himself. Douglass's first and main concern wasn't smallpox but rather medical standards and, to be honest, his own reputation as a physician. He wasn't convinced by the journal article about what someone may or may not be … [Read more...]

Challenge Your Thinking II – What Really Happened Next

King kicks off the meeting with a quick summary of things as they stand on that morning. No bail money, a handful of protestors already in jail, not much of a groundswell of local people eager to march, and a federal court order banning any further marches in town. He reminds the 20 that he has told a few folks that he would march and would be willing to go to jail. The group of 20 starts to … [Read more...]

Challenge Your Thinking I – What Really Happened Next

Confident, Lincoln obliged the calls for comments. He stood tall and straight and said with a grin, "I hear you had the Rebels here last summer [meaning four months ago]. Did you fight them any?" The crowd of people stared at him. Silent. Cold. Resentful. After all, where had Lincoln been during those horrible, bloody days? Was it his farm that was plundered? His family member that died or … [Read more...]

A Leadership Walkshop

· The title of this 2-part Leadership Walkshop is “Plans, Shocks, And Your Leadership: Two Walks In the Civil War Experience Of Benjamin Harrison.” · A maximum of 5 people can participate in a walking group. · When registering for the Walkshop, you are registering to participate in both Walkshops. I have decided not to permit people to select one Walkshop and not the other in this particular … [Read more...]

Water On The Rock: Time And You

Think of a big event in your life, something that you believe has left a deep impression on you since it happened. Got it? OK, I’d like you to go with me for the next minute of so. Keep your chosen event in the front of your mind. How much time has passed since the event occurred? Do you see it differently now? Does it have a different meaning, to whatever degree, than it used to have for you? … [Read more...]

Creative Conversations

A Personal Leadership Service from Dr. Dan Miller of Historical Solutions LLC For the last 18 months, I’ve been offering a new and exciting form of leadership growth for my clients. It’s called “Creative Conversations.” At this point, I’ve had six people who’ve fruitfully gone through the experience and emerged with a clearer sense, appreciation, and idea of where they’ve been, where they are, … [Read more...]


Yeah, I know what day it is. President's Day. Still, I rise in defense of the often indefensible—the U.S. Congress. Well, sort of. Indirectly. And with a whole bunch of other qualifiers. Here we go. For all of the understandably negative press Congress receives, we have forgotten that it was Congress—or the version at the time, the Continental Congress—that was at the foundation of founding … [Read more...]

Lay Down Sally: More You Should Know

MORE ON LAY DOWN SALLY Her name was Sally Cary Fairfax. She was the oldest of four Cary children. Vibrant, effervescent, and vivacious were words often used to describe her. And of course, beautiful and stunning were equally common terms from the guys around her. Both the Cary and Fairfax families embodied every stereotypical image you have of wealthy, plantation-based Tidewater colonial … [Read more...]

Your Leadership And The Second Shoe

Want to know how we’re feeling today? I think I’ve discovered it. From all of my wanderings I’ve picked up the palpable belief from people that they expect a second shoe to drop in the economy. They’re waiting for, dreading, and are somewhat planning or preparing for some event that will cause the second shoe to drop and the economy to do another tailspin like September 2008. Let me tell you … [Read more...]

Option B: When The Tears Fall-Leadership, Tragedy, and Ronald Reagan, 1985-1986

LEADERSHIP NOW WORKSHOP: Leading During Tragedy—Ronald Reagan and the Challenger Space Shuttle Dr. Dan Miller The Issue You are in a unique position of having to help people deal with tragedy. No matter how hard we try to avoid it, despite all the planning and prevention, tragedy strikes. And people turn to you to help understand, respond to, and make some sort of sense of tragedy. Tragedy is … [Read more...]

Option A: Down The Rabbit Hole-Leadership, Succession, And The Deeper Story Of Peyton Manning

LEADERSHIP NOW WORKSHOP: Down the Rabbit Hole—Leadership, Succession, and the Deeper Story of Peyton Manning Dr. Dan Miller The Issue Unless tomorrow’s leaders are in place, or you know where they’ll come from, your organization is at extreme risk. Leaders leave. Always, be it by retirement, resignation, removal, or something else. You must, absolutely must, have a clear and solid idea about … [Read more...]

Patty and Tom: A Story of Marriage and Leadership

· Jefferson’s political allies nagged and hounded him during August and September 1782 about returning to political debates and issues. He refused, staying holed up in his wife’s bedroom and in the small temporary office near the bed. He had insisted on being present for every childbirth and for every child death. They were a devoted husband and wife. · Get ready for a shocking point—Sally … [Read more...]

Caty and Nathanael: A Story Of Marriage And Leadership

· At the time of their wedding in 1774, Caty was 21 and Nathanael was 32. · The two of them talked about growing old together, enjoying their children and reading to one another by firelight. Sounds nice, doesn’t it? · The fact that Nathanael and Caty still had their four children living by the time of this story was remarkable. Many couples suffered death rates among their children of 50% or … [Read more...]

More Information on Workshop

LEADERSHIP NOW WORKSHOP: Being a Leader During Economic Stagnation: 3 Jewels from the Late 1930s Dr. Dan Miller The Issue Then… The American economy had gone into a free-fall decline by 1930. A modest recovery had been made in the mid-1930s. By the late 1930s, however, a second economic slide befell Americans. The Issue Now… We had a severe economic drop in 2007-2008. Since then, we’ve … [Read more...]

Register for Leadership Now Workshop

REGISTRATION FORM: Being a Leader During Economic Stagnation: 3 Jewels from the Late 1930s DR. DAN MILLER, HISTORICAL SOLUTIONS LLC Date: Friday, October 21, 2011 Time: 10am to 1pm Location: Conference Center, Fort Benjamin Harrison – the Gates Room 5753 Glenn Road Indianapolis, IN 46216 317-591-0904/Note: Computer mapping will not work. The park entrance is off 59th Street and Post … [Read more...]

My Night At The Indiana State Fair: Leadership And You

Again, don't interpret these comments are sideline criticisms. Officials deserve extensive praise and even more extensive prayers. Well done. To clarify, as a result of this event, unified command was used for the first time in a major incident in Indianapolis, not for the first time in the U.S. In saying I'm a bit of a Calvinist, I'm referring to my spiritual life. I'm saying that I tend to … [Read more...]

The Huge But Avoidable Mistake

THE HUGE BUT AVOIDABLE MISTAKE: RELIVING THE STEEPEST COST OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION The Great Depression struck Americans in the 1930s. It had two parts, from roughly 1930 to 1935, and from 1937 through the end of the decade and into the early 1940s. And during this period—along with all the personal and individual sufferings of joblessness, homelessness, and hopelessness—there was one particular … [Read more...]

I Wish You Didn’t Need To Know This–But You Do

The three key examples are Winston Churchill, A&P Stores, and Grumman Company. Each of them showed outstanding leadership in the late 1930s, a time of deepening economic crisis--after a previous economic crisis. All three examples will help you re-energize your personal leadership and will also give you specific takeaways to use with your followers and, just as importantly, with … [Read more...]

John Adams and the Words That Hit Like a Ton of Bricks

· Do you have to be elderly, in your 80s in Adams’s case, to have this sort of reflection and perspective? Can a younger person reach the same conclusion? Personally, age may help but I don’t think it’s required. This sort of insight can come at any age, at any time. · Speaking of age, I’ve seen plenty of older people who were anything but cheerful in the same sense that Adams displays on March … [Read more...]

The Folding Metal Chair and Eleanor Roosevelt

Walk the talk--that's a cliched way of saying that your decisions should be reflected in your actions. I also think that the way in which you express this link or connection is very important. Eleanor Roosevelt's slamming down of that folding metal chair in the middle aisle echoed in more ways than one. She let everyone know where she stood. She also was doing what she could do; she had no formal … [Read more...]

2011 and 1721

Jack Boylston was the five-year old son of Dr. Zadbiel Boylston. The elder Boylston was a devoted and loving father. I can scarcely imagine what it must have been like to watch his son wince with the process of inoculation and not knowing whether he would live or die as a result of what I, as his parent, was doing to him. Think of looking into the face of your child as you cut the little arm, rub … [Read more...]

You, Egypt, and Revolution

·         We see and hear the word “revolution” tossed around a lot. There’s the technology revolution, the information revolution, the sexual revolution, the Internet revolution, the social media revolution and on and on. You get the point. It’s too bad because that sort of inundation tends to make us numb to the real thing—when an actual revolution is at hand, as in Egypt, we dismiss or look … [Read more...]

Abraham Lincoln and the One-Armed Man

FURTHER THOUGHTS ON ABRAHAM LINCOLN AND THE ONE-ARMED MAN ·         I don’t know the name of the One-Armed Man. I’d love to be able to tell you his whole story. Maybe someday I’ll find the information.       Did you hear the sound of the wind right before I referenced "rumble and roar"? Interesting coincidence of sound, word, and meaning. A brush of spirit, perhaps.       The story … [Read more...]

Further Thoughts on Daniel Morgan and Leadership

·         After you receive my newsletter on Morgan and “campfire conversations,” please be sure to check out The Tackle Box for a guide on using Morgan in your current-day leadership. You’ll find The Tackle Box in the Shop portion of the website. ·         Daniel Morgan was actually born in New Jersey, not Virginia, in 1736. You might not realize it but much of New Jersey in the 18th … [Read more...]

Further Thoughts on John Wooden and the What-If Question

FURTHER THOUGHTS ON JOHN WOODEN AND THE WHAT-IF QUESTION ·         John Wooden is one of my most popular historical leadership development case studies (I’ve got 60 of them). I think the three most important takeaways from Wooden’s leadership experience. They are: the Lasting Imprint (how to help your followers gain lifelong lessons from their relationship with you); Shoes-and-Socks (how to … [Read more...]

Further Thoughts on the Four Humble Items

FURTHER THOUGHTS ON HARRY TRUMAN AND THE FOUR HUMBLE ITEMS       Yes, I know the video was eight minutes, not five. My fault. Still, I hope you enjoyed it.       Have you come up with your four items yet? Mine: a copy of Huck Finn, photo of family and friends (preferably while camping, hiking, fishing, or at the Chicago Art Institute), my baptismal verse scratched in my handwriting, and a … [Read more...]

Further Thoughts on the Big Little Book

·         The 110 maxims on personal conduct conjure two images in my mind. One is the Book of Proverbs in the Bible’s Old Testament. Like the verses in Proverbs, the 110 points are direct, pithy, and eminently practical (at least in the setting for which they’re written). There is a stern aroma of morality and judgment. The 110 points are often quite specific and directive. And along the way you … [Read more...]

A Foundational Belief

You have foundational beliefs. So do I. A foundational belief is dearly and certainly held in your heart, mind, and soul. It shapes your view of the world and everything in it. We know it is part of truth, a thing above and beneath time and place and circumstance. You build your life upon foundational beliefs. And they power your leadership. You arrive at foundational beliefs through your … [Read more...]

The Levels of Leaders on the Ground

One night in the early spring I received a call at home. It was not long after supper, my wife Kelly and daughter Haley and me were cleaning up the table, washing dishes, getting ready for the rest of what we knew would be a nice evening at home. The call was unexpected and the voice on the other end was even more so. For me, and hopefully for the person to whom the voice belonged, it was an … [Read more...]

The Self-Perception of Innovation

One of my recent sessions at a hospital produced a discussion of innovation. When I asked about the state of innovation at this hospital, the participants agreed that it was next to impossible to innovate in the organization. They proceeded to list a variety of reasons why that was, ranging from fear of failure to stale attitudes toward change. The strength of their consensus was surprising to … [Read more...]

Delegation into united or divided teams

Not long ago a group of promising leaders at a hospital explored the role of delegation in leadership. In the discussion they encountered the issue of whether they preferred to delegate tasks on a major project into a team that was united in its pursuit of that project or into one that had evident divisions over it. Such a project might be a building expansion, the development of a significant new … [Read more...]