On August 2, 216 BC, Hannibal Barca led the Carthaginian Army against the Roman Legions outside of a town in southeastern Italy called Cannae.  Hannibal had led his force into Italy three years before and had decisively beaten the Romans at Trebia and Lake Trasimeme.  Frusturated with their leader, Fabius Maximus, for his deliberate approach in fighting Hannibal, the Roman Senate appointed new leaders, amassed the largest army Rome had ever fielded, and aggressively pursued Hannibal.  

Outside of Cannae, Hannibal used the terrain to his advantage and arranged his forces in a way that the world had never seen.  Even though the Carthaginians were outnumbered by at least 50% and consisted of a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual force whose equipment difference which gave them a disadvantage in communication and mass, Hannibal's leadership and innovation enabled his force to virtually annihilate the Romans in one of the most decisive military battles in human history.  Alfred von Schlieffen designed Germany's strategy in WWI after Cannae and in his book, "Crusade in Europe,"  Dwight D. Eisenhower wrote, "Every ground commander seeks the battle of annihilation; so far as conditions permit, he tries to duplicate in modern war the classic example of Cannae.


The Cannae Model is based on 4 attributes which were critical for Hannibal and are essential for success on both the modern battlefield and in the corporate boardroom.  

Preparation -  All human endeavors are a balance between art and science.  Hannibal's preparation in military science and leadership began when he was a child and was ongoing during the Second Punic War.  The Romans he faced on the other hand, were amateur generals who had neither the mindset nor skills to fight and lead.  At the Cannae Academy we believe that the hallmark of professionals is their preparation because we show up with what we've brought.

Intelligence - Intel is both a threat-centric military function whose penultimate product is determining what the opposition is going to do as well as a synonym for cognitive function. In any endeavor, it is imperative to understand the opposition and the market.  Through knowledge of the terrain, strategic environment and psychology of the Roman general Hannibal knew what his opposition was going to do at Cannae.  He was then able to engineer a plan that pitted his strengths against their weaknesses in such a way that by the time the Romans figured out what was happening, their annihilation was at hand.  Students at the Cannae Academy will learn what can be known about the opposition as well as participate in drills that develop creativity, innovation, critical decision making, and precise communication.

Strength - In the physical sense, strength is the capacity to do work or in more technical parlance, generate joules.  At the Cannae Academy, we recognize that raw physical capacity is both fleeting and fragile.  For us, strength is therefore a prerequisite or a quality of which we just need enough; strength is not a differentiator.  Subsequently, Cannae Academy emphasizes technology and cooperation via human networks, to generate strength because their combination creates advantages that have a material impact upon repeatable victory.  

Bravery - Classically defined, bravery is doing that which we are afraid to do and what others will not.  The most important kind of bravery is of the spirit, or the will.  By constantly evaluating ourselves, seeking coaching, and implementing the appropriate practice, we develop the bravery to venture into the unknown against the criticism of critics and cynics.  Hannibal did not develop the courage to implement an innovative strategy overnight.  The Battle of Cannae was the masterwork of a life of bravery.  Thus, by venturing down the path of constant internal improvement, we prepare ourselves to throw our flesh against steel.