Leadership Case Studies


Analyze and explore group leadership behaviors through custom-configured case studies that present meaningful and relevant situations and challenges.

Our Leadership Case Studies provide a setting for leaders and teams to analyze complex business problems based on real world challenges. The case discussions explore your specific organizational and team development needs through highly interactive and collaborative facilitation. As participants consider problems from a perspective that requires analysis, they strive to resolve questions that have no single right answer. Themes from the cases can be applied to current business situations, and our instructors highlight these linked themes during discussion.

This method enables participants to engage with the characters and circumstances of the story, identifying problems as they perceive them, and connecting the meaning of the case to their own experience as a professional. They are encouraged to leverage their own background, knowledge, and principles, to raise points, questions, and defend their positions. Participants must formulate strategies to analyze the data and generate possible solutions.

Case Study: Wine Wars

Glass of white Wine (Riesling) and riesling grapes
Background How do we set a vision that evokes emotion in our organization? How do we communicate that vision and pull teams and individuals toward it? What perception do others have of my team or of me? How do we drive change that points our organization toward a desired strategic outcome?
Key Topics
  • Setting the Vision
  • Building an Effective Brand
  • Driving Organizational Change
Description This leadership case study studies the long product cycles and strategic plans in the wine industry. How does the industry motivate change and progress toward a 25-year plan? How do various geographic regions approach the challenge differently? And why? We will work through branding at the group and individual levels.

Case Study: Apollo 13

apollo 13
Background What is at the core of a high-performing team? Why do some teams perform well under normal conditions yet crumble under pressure? How do we foster an optimal environment for collaboration across individuals and across teams? How do we make adjustments based on circumstances?
Key Topics
  • Team Performance Analysis
  • Enabling Collaboration
  • Situational Leadership
Description This leadership case study examines specific team behaviors at both the individual and group level. We will analyze the events, decisions, and outcomes of the ‘Apollo 13′ mission of 1970. We will look into the details of NASA’s approach to the mission and how they responded to the unexpected events, before we turn the subject matter onto ourselves. Houston, Apollo, 200,000 miles, and fitting a square peg into a round hole… how did they navigate grave danger?

Case Study: Friendly Fire

Tornado Harrier silhouette
Background What happens to lines of authority and accountability in complex organizations? Do centralized groups have the ability to influence corresponding decentralized groups? What does good communication look like in organizations that leverage outsourcing, multiple locations, and cross-regional teams?
Key Topics
  • Leading a Complex Organizational Model
  • Practical Reality vs. Practical Drift
  • Cross-Cultural Communication
Description This leadership case study analyzes the challenges presented by modern-day, complex organizations. We will rely on challenges faced by the U.S. Military across history, with a focus on cutting-edge changes made to resolve the new dynamics of joint ventures. What is the difference between leading simple versus complex organizations and how do we drive success while managing risk?

Case Study: Everest

Background What happens when the drive for individual achievement comes in conflict with team goals? Can both be reconciled, even in a high-pressure, life-and-death environment? In a work setting how can different individual strengths be harnessed to pull together to achieve one business purpose?
Key Topics
  • Importance of establishing a shared purpose when working as a team
  • How cognitive biases limit decision making
  • Why organizational complexity works against efficiency
Description Tragedy doesn’t always result from catastrophic mistakes, but sometimes emerges from a series of everyday, avoidable miscalculations. This case study looks at the leadership and decision-making process of two very experienced high-altitude mountain climbing leaders, and how overconfidence, misguided execution and some bad luck led to tragedy in Mt. Everest’s ‘death zone.’

Case Study: Cuban Missile Crisis

cuban missle crisis
Background Why do some individuals exhibit an ownership mentality? Why are some groups able to constructively debate solutions or innovations? How do we develop these leadership behaviors at all levels in both individuals and groups? What should leaders do to foster these behaviors in others?
Key Topics
  • Responsible vs. Accountable Behavior
  • Groupthink vs. Consensus
  • Fostering Creative and Constructive Debate
Description This leadership case study examines specific behaviors at both the individual and group level. We will analyze the events, decisions, and outcomes of the ‘Bay of Pigs’ and the ‘Cuban Missile Crisis’. We will dive into the mindsets of the leadership communities surrounding these events, before turning the subject matter onto ourselves. Between Brigades 2506, the CIA, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and World Leaders…
what went wrong? And what went right?

Case Study: Orchestra

Background How does an Orchestra conductor handle the complexities of managing 100+ people? How do they lead multiple sections of musicians to the vision of flawless execution? How does the conductor keep section leaders stay on the same page considering the infinite possibilities of artistic interpretation?
Key Topics
  • Motivating Groups toward a Common Vision
  • Team-to-Team Rivalries and Collaboration
  • Influence & Negotiation
Description This leadership case study dives into the team-to-team dynamics of a professional orchestra. We will analyze and discuss how a conductor manages the challenges of leading multiple teams to the same outcome. The individual role of a musician will be part of the conversation as we look at the ingredients of successful influence and negotiation. We will leverage real examples, from Mozart to the London Symphony Orchestra.

Case Study: Seal Team 6

seal team 6
Background Why do some individuals make snap decisions under pressure? Why do some individuals have trouble making any decision? How about group decisions? What role does fear play in decisions and how do we that challenge? How do we foster success in others?
Key Topics
  • Decisions under Pressure
  • Strategic Planning with Simulations
  • Contingency Planning
Description This leadership case study will analyze the psychological tendencies of groups and individuals under pressure through the lens of conflict. How do you lead through the depths of crisis and stay focused on an outcome? What do others do in the presence of danger and what can we learn from their experiences?
We will leverage the best practices developed by Military Special Forces and the Police Academy. We will also analyze the simulation scenarios performed by the Navy Seals.

Case Study: Too Big to Fail

Background What conditions, situations and events caused the global economic system to enter a tailspin in 2008? Was the regulatory/government response appropriate? What might have been done differently? Is our financial system more stable today as a result?
Key Topics
  • Examine the financial crisis from the perspective of the major institutional leadership and the main regulatory authorities
  • Gain understanding of macroeconomics, financial products and the nature of financial services
  • Explore the complexities of systemic risk
Description The Too Big to Fail Case Study reviews the financial crisis from the beginning of 2008 to the decision to create the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). Too Big to Fail dissects how Washington and Wall Street fought symbiotically to save the financial system and examines whether or not they succeeded.