Some CEOs are educated in the classrooms of the world's best business schools. Others learn their most important leadership lessons in less traditional environments, like on a mountain in Bosnia, in bitterly cold weather, in often hostile circumstances, while serving in the Alpine Troops as part of the NATO Stabilization Force.

Sound extreme?

It sometimes was for Gilles de Larouzière, currently President of Maisons & Domaines Henriot, which employs 350 people and generates more than 100 million Euro in revenue. But the leadership lessons that de Larouzière took away, that guide his tenure as President of a Champagne house that dates back eight generations, aren't about military force. They're about emotional investment, the tyranny of short-term thinking, and finding the real thing in someone else's eyes.

Here are more details of four leadership lessons learned in unusually difficult circumstances.

1. Alone You are Nothing

In an operational field like he experienced in Bosnia, with tense conditions and harsh weather in an often hostile environment, de Larouzière learned to entrench himself in the human community.

"You learn that alone you are nothing," he said. "In these situations, what makes life possible is the quality of the relationship that you have with others in your troop. We are all in the same situation, on the same mountain, under the same conditions. The key thing is how to keep everyone together."

The lesson isn't only about comradeship, however. It's also about solidarity and the group understanding of their purpose while living in such circumstances. "Why are we suffering together from the cold? Why are we living together in such difficult conditions, such a long time apart from families and friends? You learn to focus on the aim of all of that."

2. Emotional Investment

Wine is an agricultural product, where nature can destroy a year's worth of effort, passion and investment in just a few days or even hours. It can happen during any growing cycle. To protect against the despair that looms perpetually, de Larouzière believes that every employee and every shareholder must be emotionally invested in the business for the very long term.

This means conveying a sense of meaningfulness to every person in the company, from winemaker to accountant, so that they understand the less-obvious value that something like a financial report provides: if that person suggests improvements to the way the report is read in order to better serve the accomplishment of the vision, they're demonstrating emotional investment.

3. Tyranny of the Short Term

After his military service, de Larouzière worked in strategic consulting for the financial services sector. There he observed that many big companies have lost the sense of a long-term strategy or vision, probably because of the "tyranny of the short-term" that's manifested in quarterly reports.

"It's difficult for a manager to have his own vision of his business without extracting himself from the short term," de Larouzière said. "Focusing on the long-term gives perspective on the difficulties you have day to day, but the business isn't determined by those short-term difficulties."

It's a topic that de Larouzière would like to address at the global scale, that is, how the business community can make the market more compatible with long-term visions rather than short-term (and perhaps short-sighted) gains.

4. Innovation and Reflection

Innovation is valuable to a company with longevity like Henriot's, but in a deliberate and contemplative fashion.

"You have to take the time to think where the innovation is needed and how to use it," de Larouzière said. "We are constantly searching for innovation but at the service of pleasure and emotion. That requires time and reflection."

In the wine industry, and particularly for Champagne, it becomes a question of assemblage, which is the French term for the blending of different grape varieties and different base wines, often from many different vintages and over the course of many years. It's a slow and deliberate process. De Larouzière means assemblage, also, in terms of assembling and blending the people - particularly the growers and suppliers of his grapes - even before assembling the wine.

"It's the relationship with those who will provide you with the quality you're expecting," he said. "Yes, there are contracts and financial flows and questions. But I think the real thing is in the eyes. I respect you, you respect me. We are doing together what we have to do."