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Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World Paperback – 1 February 2016
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About the book
What if you could combine the agility, adaptability, and cohesion of a small team with the power and resources of a giant organization? When General Stanley McChrystal took command of the Joint Special Operations Task Force in Iraq in 2003, he quickly realized that conventional military tactics were failing. The allied forces had a huge advantage in numbers, equipment and training - but none of the enemy's speed and flexibility. McChrystal and his colleagues discarded a century of conventional wisdom to create a 'team of teams' that combined extremely transparent communication with decentralized decision-making authority. Faster, flatter and more flexible, the task force beat back al-Qaeda. In this powerful book, McChrystal and his colleagues show how the challenges they faced in Iraq can be relevant to any leader.
About the author
Stanley McChrystal retired in July 2010 as a four-star general in the US Army. His last assignment was as the commander of the International Security Assistance Force and as the commander of the US forces in Afghanistan. He is currently a senior fellow at Yale University's Jackson Institute for Global Affairs and the cofounder of the McChrystal Group, a leadership consulting firm. Tantum Collins and Chris Fussell are his colleagues at the McChrystal Group, while David Silverman is the founder and CEO of CrossLead. He is the author of Team of Teams.
This is a bold argument that leaders can help teams become greater than the sum of their parts ― Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit
Team of Teams is erudite, elegant, and insightful. An unexpected and surprising wealth of information and wonder, it provides a blueprint for how to cope with increasing complexity in the world. A must read for anyone who cares about the future - and that means all of us ― Daniel Levitin, author of The Organized Mind
- Publisher : Penguin (General UK); 1st edition (1 February 2016)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 304 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0241250838
- ISBN-13 : 978-0241250839
- Dimensions : 12.9 x 1.8 x 19.8 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 5,359 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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A thought is that are these concepts enabled by a reductionist baseline or can they be developed from the outset?
Do you need an organisation to have been based in a clear roles and responsibilities framework, In order to be able to optimise the New system.
At the end of the day ' trust' is the cornerstone, and it reminds me of the saying that 'some leaders trust that you are good until you prove yourself otherwise, and some leaders don't trust you until you prove yourself worthy.' Both have their place and whilst naturally people like to think they are in the former, most, if honest, would admit to being in the latter.
In this book the special forces selection process and the assumption of competence inherent in that culture need to be factored in as enabling considerations, kind of like the seeds for the gardener to grow and tend.
Iam a convert, and can see the utility and benefits.
The TLDR version of this book is “General Stanley McChrystal instituted a daily video conference in Iraq which all special operations forces had to join and everyone shared information so then the US won the war.”
There are parts of this book that are great (the history of management thinking at the start is well done).
The writing is generally fantastic. But I’m always cautious about cure all solutions; a treatment for every management ailment, if you will. I’m also cautious about any management narrative that’s predicated on “the world has got faster, therefore you must…”
How to embrace the decentralised command and control!
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Another incredibly important yet totally overlooked point of context is that the vast majority of the cited systems are life-or-death in their overall mission and goals, which more easily override individual or informal goals. These are incredibly difficult to translate to business domains because those systems typically have far less purpose, and an informal (yet primary) mission of making wealthy leaders and stakeholder's even wealthier.
What I find most appealing about Team of Teams is that McChrystal has written about how he changed a large organisation to adapt to a new threat that traditional structures were unable to tackle. Taking this experience and documenting it in an easy-to-read and engaging thesis takes the reader on a journey of change based on real events that put theory into practice with dramatic positive outcomes.
If you are serious about addressing problems associated with ancient institutional structures that limit the capacity for your organisation to adapt to the more complex environments in which it functions, then this book helps you understand why change is necessary and offers a blueprint of how that change should look.
Some of the ideals of DevOps are based on the ideas that are explained in this book, such as organisations promoting psychological safety as well as building teams and communication that emphasise locality and simplicity. For me, this book gave me those 'aha' moments when abstract concepts become crystal clear actions in my own mind.
I also read this book in short time owing to the engaging way it is written. I have dog-eared many pages for reference and so will return to this book over and over as I continue along my own journey.