dunkirk evacuation greg bustin executive leadership blog

Dunkirk Spirit

May 26th, 2015  | 

Published in Strategic Planning

Memorial Day signals the beginning of summer.

The holiday’s original purpose was to honor the men and women of our armed forces.

Tomorrow marks the 75th anniversary of the Dunkirk evacuation of World War II.
From May 27 to June 4, 1940, Allied forces evacuated nearly 340,000 soldiers from Dunkirk, France, who had been surrounded entirely on land by Nazi soldiers.

The German Luftwaffe dropped leaflets on the Allied armies with a map and the caption: “Look at the map. Your troops are entirely surrounded. Stop fighting! Put down your arms!” Allied soldiers mostly used the leaflets as toilet paper.

To the land- and air-minded Nazis, the sea seemed an impassable barrier. To the British, the sea was a route to safety.

The Allies appealed to anyone with a boat to help rescue the solders from certain death. Fishing boats, pleasure cruisers and commercials vessels joined naval sea craft—800 boats in all—to evacuate Allied troops who were queuing in shoulder-deep in water for hours.

“Dunkirk Spirit” came to represent the solidarity of the British people in times of adversity.

As you begin your summer, remember to thank the men and women of our military who make summer fun possible.

When facing adversity in your business, consider asking for help from everyone on your team.

Do you have “Dunkirk Spirit” in your workplace?

About the Author: Greg Bustin advises some of the world’s most admired companies and leaders, and he’s dedicated a career to working with CEOs and the leadership teams of hundreds of companies in a range of industries. He’s facilitated more than 200 strategic planning sessions, and he’s delivered more than 500 keynotes and workshops on five continents. His fifth leadership book—How Leaders Decide: A Timeless Guide to Making Tough Choices—examines 52 of history’s greatest triumphs and tragedies and will be published in 2019 by Simple Truths.

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