Follow by Email

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

One Person Can't Make a Difference - Can They...?

Are your the One...?

On the morning of the 18th June 1815, the Duke of Wellingtons Army of The Seventh Coalition prepared for battle with a small French chap called Napoleon Bonaparte and some of his friends - around 76,000 of them to be precise...

The ground was wet, so the battle didn't actually commence until 12.00 noon - and likely the French needed to have a lunch break of a couple of hours too...


As Wellington scanned to battlefield, he recognised that there were some key strategic objectives that had to be defended; one of these was the Chateau Hougomont. This was a large house with orchards and that faced north along a sunken lane that meant it could be reinforced and supplied under relative cover.

Hougomont was to be defended by among others, the 1st Battalion, 2nd Nassau Regiment, the 1st Hannover Brigade and the 2nd Battalion, Coldstream Guards under the command of Lt-Colonel Henry Wyndham.

My Grandfather was in the Coldstream Guards and fought during WW1 around Ypres and Passchendaele - another couple of towns in Belgium that have entered into British history due to the battles that were fought there...


Waterloo was a ferocious battle, and at one stage the French broke through into the courtyard of Hougomont and there was a risk that the Chateau and indeed the battle would be lost.With French troops potentially pouring into the courtyard the Coldstream Guards were in the thick of the fighting; this was hand to hand combat using bayonets, rifle butts and fists...


Enter Guardsman James Graham...

James Graham ran through the fighting and forced the gates closed to prevent more French troops from entering the courtyard - this action was almost suicidal and logically would have meant that he would have been at least wounded or killed...

In fact with the support of Lt-Colonel Madconnell he managed to force the gate closed, and stemmed to flow into the courtyard. The Coldstream Guards killed every remaining French soldier, sparing only the life of an 11 year old drummer boy...

The Duke of Wellington is recorded as saying;

"...The success of the battle turned upon closing the gates at Hougoumont..."


"...You may depend upon it, no troops could have held Hougoumont but the British; and only the best of them."

...and of James Graham.. 

"...The most valorous NCO at the battle of Waterloo selected by the Duke of Wellington..."

Essentially, the Battle of Waterloo was "saved by the actions of just two key men - James Graham and
Lt-Colonel Madconnell when they shut the gate into the courtyard. If Hougomont had fallen, then the battle may have been lost.

James Graham was presented with a specially cast gallantry award and also given an annuity in recognition of his contribution. He survived the battle and went on to serve with distinction in future campaigns with the Coldstream Guards.

So can one person make a difference - absolutely...

In business, that person has to be YOU or one of your TEAM - a business can turn on the actions of one person; for good or for bad... 

If a whole battle involving 1000's of troops can turn on the valiant actions of just one person; then so can your business, your life and of course your results.

What it takes is Passion, Commitment and the Will to Succeed against what appear to be overwhelming odds... 

Probably helps if we are a bit crazy too...

Comment here on Blogger with your email address a for a FREE copy of one of my EBooks, Excellence is a Real Pitch, where I talk about how to get the best from your People...

2 comments:

  1. Hi David, Love this blog and I agree totally! i always look forward to your blogs at the beginning of the week. The momentum carries me through the rest of the week! I would love your ebook please janice@buros.lu
    many thanks

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Mr David, I've just discovered your blog from a LinkedIn link ( The 23 best excuses) and I'd love to have your e-book. My e-mail: alternative4@hotmail.com. In the meantime I'll go through your blog posts.

    Many thanks
    Alessandra

    ReplyDelete