Book Review: TEAM OF TEAMS by General Stanley McChrystal


“This was not a war of planning and discipline (Iraq 2004), it was one of agility and innovation”

This is a fun and insightful read on modern approaches to management and leadership.

The main premise is that traditional hierarchical management techniques, ie command and control, are outdated, and that collaboration and team work are key to success in the modern complex world.

The focus is on a team of teams approach, where the relationships among teams mimics the relationships between individuals in those teams. This is imperative to enable adaptability.

Key takeaways:

  • Information sharing is vital as it creates a ‘shared consciousness’
  • Decentralised decision making enables ’empowered execution’, that helps remove barriers and silos between hierarchies
  • Both robustness and resilience are important:
    • You can achieve robustness by strengthening parts of the system
    • Resilience is achieved by linking elements that allow for adaptability and reconfiguration in response to change
  • Complicated is not the same as complex (more difficult to solve)
  • Strive for adaptability
  • Don’t just focus on predicting, but also reconfiguring

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