Decatur-based entrepreneur Matt Spaulding is combining two of his passions into a creative approach for business development. Spaulding, president of Spaulding Communications, a strategic communications consulting firm in Decatur, is also a regional representative for Battlefield Leadership.
Battlefield Leadership is a consulting and training company based in Hilton Head, S.C., that specializes in leadership training based on some of America’s most famous battles and military leaders. Spaulding said the company’s concept is very much a “niche.”
“The concept of Battlefield Leadership that the two co-founders, Rich Thomas and Col. Cole Kingseed (Army ret.), developed was just so intriguing to me. I come from a family that has a long line of American history. So I’ve always been fascinated with American military history. When I learned what Cole and Rich were doing and the connection to business and leadership, I knew I had to get involved in some way.”
A typical Battlefield Leadership program involves participants traveling to the actual battle site and being briefed on the significance of the specific battle being studied. Participants are provided with reading materials during the orientation period that are to be read and studied prior to going onto the battle site.
Spaulding helps promote the customized leadership programs that are held on-site at such locations as Gettysburg, Pa.; Cowpens S.C.; Shiloh, Tenn.; and Chickamauga, Ga. After assessing the specific leadership needs of an organization, Spaulding and his associates develop a program and training agenda designed to illustrate how military battle principles can be applied in a practical approach to address corporate leadership needs.
“One of the great things about Battlefield Leadership is its focus on the experience. Standing on the very ground which men fought and died over is beyond compelling and so highly memorable. You cannot be at one of our programs and not feel a sense of great reverence for what our fellow Americans went through during these battles... The experience and expertise Battlefield Leadership brings are so much more powerful than sitting in a conference room watching a Power Point presentation about leadership.”
An Avondale Estates resident and self-confessed history buff, Spaulding is researching along with Battlefield Leadership to develop a locally based leadership development program on civil rights struggles and principles that would include a visit to the Martin Luther King Jr. historic site, Ebenezer Baptist Church, Stone Mountain and other locations that were significant in the Civil Rights Movement.
In addition to leadership training programs, Spaulding is developing a locally based leisure program that would concentrate on Sherman’s march to the sea with emphasis on the Battle of Atlanta and the impact and battle locations within DeKalb County and the greater metro area.
The proposed program will be a historically based leisure tour package with stops in Decatur, Atlanta and Stone Mountain. Spaulding has suggested a two- to three-day all-inclusive approach that would include an overnight stay in a local historic bed and breakfast for the first night. On the second day, guests would travel on a luxury motor coach to Macon where they would tour sites of historic interest and overnight at the 1842 Inn, on the third day participants would continue to Savannah where the tour would complete. Leisure packages would emphasize historical information and facts but not be concentrate on leadership principles.
Spaulding said historically based programs are “a great way to see how history and the people who made history can be used to teach lessons that are applicable to business.” He explained further, “While we live in a time that is almost completely foreign to what America was like in the 1860s during the Civil War for example, people of that era faced grave issues and challenges too. If you stop to study those issues and challenges and understand how the leaders of that time dealt with those things, we can find potential solutions for the issues and challenges we face today. History is a great teacher; we just have to be willing to participate in learning about our history.”