Lessons from the Hanoi Hilton: Six Characteristics of High Performance Teams

Lessons from the Hanoi Hilton: Six Characteristics of High Performance Teams

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Lessons from the Hanoi Hilton: Six Characteristics of High Performance Teams by Peter Fretwell, Taylor Kiland

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781612512181
Publisher: Naval Institute Press
Publication date: 05/20/2013
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 176
Sales rank: 356,533
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Raised in a military family, Taylor Baldwin Kiland was seven years old and living in Coronado, California, when she witnessed the POWs’ homecoming—sparking a lifelong interest in them. She volunteered for Sen. John McCain’s presidential election in 2000 and 2008 where she met many of the former POWs. She is the author or co-author of three books, including Open Doors: Vietnam POWs Thirty Years Later, a book that takes a close look at the current lives of 30 former Vietnam POWs. Taylor is a management consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton and lives in Alexandria, Virginia.

Peter Fretwell’s interest in the Hanoi Hilton leadership and organizational culture began during his MBA studies in strategic leadership. The writings of James Stockdale convinced him the lessons the POWs brought home could benefit other organizations. Lessons from the Hanoi Hilton is the result of more than seven years of research and study on the topic.

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