Lessons from the Hanoi Hilton

Six Characteristics of High-Performance Teams
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Binding:Hardback
Published:May 15, 2013

Why were the American POWs imprisoned at the “Hanoi Hilton” so resilient in captivity and so successful in their subsequent careers? This book presents six principles practiced within the POW organizational culture that can be used to develop high-performance teams everywhere. The authors offer examples from both the POWs’ time in captivity and their later professional lives that identify, in real-life situations, the characteristics necessary for sustainable, high-performance teamwork. The book takes readers inside the mind of James Stockdale, a fighter pilot with a degree in philosophy, who was the senior ranking officer at the Hanoi prison. The theories Stockdale practiced become readily understandable in this book. Drawing parallels between Stockdale’s guiding philosophies from the Stoic Epictetus and the principles of modern sports psychology, Peter Fretwell and Taylor Baldwin Kiland show readers how to apply these principles to their own organizations and create a culture with staying power.

Originally intending their book to focus on Stockdale’s leadership style, the authors found that his approach toward completing a mission was to assure that it could be accomplished without him. Stockdale, they explain, had created a mission-centric organization, not a leader-centric organization. He had understood that a truly sustainable culture must not be dependent on a single individual.

At one level, this book is a business school case study. It is also an examination of how leadership and organizational principles employed in the crucible of a Hanoi prison align with today’s sports psychology and modern psychological theories and therapies, as well as the training principles used by Olympic athletes and Navy SEALs. Any group willing to apply these principles can move their mission forward and create a culture with staying power—one that outlives individual members.

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List Price: $27.95
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Product Details
  • Subject: Leadership
  • Hardback : 176 pages
  • Illustrations: 11
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press (May 15, 2013)
  • ISBN-10: 1612512178
  • ISBN-13: 9781612512174
  • Product Dimensions: 5 X 8 in
  • Shipping Weight: 10.24 oz
Praise
  • “In addition to the co-authors’ combined qualifications, including meticulous research and writing in a lucid, easy-to-grasp narrative style, “Lessons From the Hanoi Hilton” is a tome, the forerunner of future research into the nature of un¬yielding courage and its application to strategic leadership principles.”
    — Leatherneck
  • “What is your ‘tap code’? Any leader or organization should ask that question about the way they communicate. Peter Fretwell and Taylor Kiland lay this out for us as they describe the leadership characteristics of true American heroes. Honor and mission focus should be embedded in everyone’s ‘tap code.’” —Vice Adm. Cutler Dawson, USN (Ret.), president/CEO of Navy Federal Credit Union
  • “I can think of no better lens on leadership than the lessons of Adm. Jim Stockdale and how he built a sustainable high-performance culture in the most extreme circumstances. Stockdale epitomized the very highest levels of integrity, honor, discipline, and love; I continually draw strength, resilience, and practical guidance from his inspired example. Learn his lessons, employ them, and you will be better.” — Jim Collins, author or coauthor of six books, including international bestsellers Good to Great, Built to Last, and How the Mighty Fall
  • “I have had experience in a range of public and private sector organizations. In every case a handful of leadership qualities were critical to the success of the organization, and the qualities displayed by the POWs were similar: culture, sustained focus, teamwork, adaptability, and communication. These qualities were evident in the Hanoi Hilton and integral to high-performing commercial organizations everywhere.” — Philip Odeen, former CEO of TRW and member of the board of directors of AES Corporation and Booz Allen Hamilton

Peter Fretwell is the general manager of The Classical Network, based in New Jersey. During his MBA studies in strategic leadership, he became convinced the lessons the POWs brought home could benefit other organizations and spent more than seven years researching the topic. He lives in Robbinsville, NJ.

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5.00 Stars
Incredible Insights into Building a Sustainable Corporate Culture
Monday, May 6, 2013
By: Mike Hatcher
In an era where markets demand agility, flexibility, innovation, and adaptability while aggressively driving efficiency, cost reduction and continual margin expansion, the ability to create, sustain, and propagate a “we can do anything with almost nothing” mission-driven culture is the leadership challenge of our times. How do you maintain an organizational identity when annual employee attrition is 15% or more – meaning every three years more than 50% of your workforce is new to your organization? In times when extreme budget austerity and figuring out “how to do much more with lots less” are indelible realities, how do you get employees to go “all in” in support of your mission and objectives? Lessons from the Hanoi Hilton – and the amazing examples from an extraordinary group of men imprisoned as much as fifty years ago – provides a practical road-map of the six characteristics that can help any organization – public, private, military, non-profit – to achieve greatness through an extensible, resilient culture. Lessons can help you unlock the power of the Stockdale leadership philosophy - and make it relevant in today's world. An absolute must read!
 

 
 

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