Team Of Teams Book Summary By General Stanley McChrystal with Tantum Collins, David Silverman and Chris Fussel

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The book "Team of Teams" (2015) is an essential read for companies and executives in the modern world.

It examines how even the biggest organizations – those facing complex, interconnected challenges – can benefit from a smaller team structure.

The book educates professionals on how to effectively create a team of teams, providing insights on how this structure will help manage issues that could make or break success.

With a focus on clear communication and collaboration, Team of Teams reveals real-world examples of its teachings in action.

With its practical advice and theoretical chances, readers will leave equipped with the knowledge necessary to take advantage of the power of pooling resources to better serve customers, innovate more effectively and boost performance.

Book Name: Team of Teams (New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World)

Author(s): General Stanley McChrystal with Tantum Collins, David Silverman and Chris Fussel

Rating: 4.4/5

Reading Time: 20 Minutes

Categories: Corporate Culture

Author Bio

General Stanley McChrystal is the author of the book, "Team of Teams".

He was a career officer in the US Army, serving an impressive 34 years before retiring as a four-star general.

During his service in Iraq, he experienced first-hand how difficult it is to organize teams and serve effectively in times of immense unpredictability..

Through this experience, he developed an unprecedented strategy for collaboration and adaptive organization that has since become known as "The Team of Teams" approach.

General McChrystal's insights from combat operations provided invaluable lessons for business leaders facing their own unique problems posed by rapid change.

Since retiring from military service, General McChrystal has become an influential leader and strategist outside of the military world.

How To Build An ‘Organization Of Teams’ In The Age Of Uncertainty

In order to survive and thrive in today’s world, it is essential for organizations to have the right teams in place.

Working in teams provides many advantages that can help organizations succeed despite unpredictable threats and challenges.

In Team of Teams, the authors share their valuable advice on why working as a team of teams is so important.

By understanding the need for efficiency while also appreciating adaptability and collaboration, organizations can prepare themselves for any kind of disruption.

In addition, readers will discover the effects of a plane crash at Portland’s airport and an emergency landing in the Hudson River has caused for business structures over time.

These insights into today’s changing business environment can help leaders understand how to build successful teams that not only work as individual entities but also come together as a single unit when necessary.

By using these principles outlined in Team of Teams, modern companies can remain flexible enough to adapt to whatever comes their way, ensuring success even during turbulent times.

Efficiency Is Not Enough To Achieve Success In A Complex World

In today’s complex world, efficiency should not be the end-all, be-all for businesses and organizations.

Our society is obsessed with achieving the best results with least effort – everyone is striving to maximize their efficiency – and that can often lead to tunnel vision when it comes to decision making.

This concept of efficiency really took off in the 1900s with Frederick Winslow Taylor’s scientific management approach, which focused on shaving off time from production processes in an effort to reach peak performance.

However, what was true then isn’t necessarily true now; thanks to advances in technology and a more interconnected world, outcomes are much more unpredictable.

Just take a look at how information technology has changed the world we live in; conditions can change suddenly, dramatically, and unreasonably quickly.

Therefore, there needs to be a shift away from solely focusing on maximizing efficiency and towards embracing agility instead.

The goal should be creating an environment conducive towards reacting quickly and effectively no matter what challenges arise while attempting to maintain some semblance of stability in chaotic times.

Adaptability Is The Key To Success In An Unpredictable World

The world today is increasingly complex and unpredictable, which means the threats we face can come in any form and from any direction.

Formerly, organizations dealt with such threats by building robust mechanisms – such as a backup generator or a wall – to prepare for every problem they could foresee.

However, in this complex world where it’s hard to predict setbacks, these protective mechanisms are not enough.

The key to overcoming these unexpected threats is resilience and adaptability.

Organizations must be flexible and agile in responding quickly to dangers on the horizon or risk their downfall.

This lesson was learned during General Stanley McChrystal’s time leading American forces in Iraq in 2003; wielding increased firepower against an enemy with no clear hierarchical structure simply wasn’t effective when it came to combatting them.

The only way to succeed was through resilience and adaptability, enabling the American forces to react quickly despite the enemy’s speed of reaction.

Ultimately, success comes from being able to pivot quickly when faced with unforeseen risks, not just from relying on outdated mechanisms or reliance on firepower.

Success comes from having the resilience and adaptability needed to overcome unexpected issues that arise.

Teams Are Better Than Command Structures At Navigating Complexity

It’s increasingly clear that teams are the perfect entities to produce solutions for navigating the ever-increasingly complex world.

Working as a team allows companies to tackle the many potential threats and challenges of a constantly evolving landscape.

Comparatively, an efficiency-minded organization falls short, relying on just one person at the top with all control over decision making – leaving all other company members to be mere subordinates in such a structure and unable to take into account the full scope of complexities such problems can bring.

The trust and common purpose among team members helps them successfully respond in uncertain times by using their collective knowledge, rather than following orders blindly.

This kind of approach is evidenced most notably in events such as the 2009 emergency landing on the Hudson River, where United Airlines changed its hierarchical chain of command system and introduced Crew Resource Management – assigning tasks across the group and inspiring mutual trust in order for everyone to work together towards a successful outcome.

The result was drastically different from incidents such as a 1978 plane crash due to fuel depletion at Portland’s airport resulting in 10 deaths – a situation caused by one single person being responsible for making every decision alone.

Clearly, teams are better equipped than individuals in finding effective solutions within an ever-evolving but complex globalized environment today.

How To Build A Team Of Teams For Maximum Efficiency

When your company has over 150 people, it can be difficult to keep them all in a single team.

Teams typically require closely knit relationships and trust, which can be tricky when too many people are involved.

That’s why forming a team of teams is a better solution than forcing everyone into one team.

Team of teams is an organizational structure in which multiple teams work together to achieve a common goal, just like individual team members work within their respective teams.

Instead of forcing everyone into one large unit, it allows organizations to break down the working group into smaller teams that are more efficient and effective.

For example, the American Task Force had an intelligence storage room with unopened garbage bags full of intelligence that had been gathered on raids.

While the operatives on the field were trying to gather information quickly, they simply lacked the understanding of how the intelligence team operated and this time-sensitive information was not handled correctly and it was too late by the time it reached an analyst.

Thus, when you have multiple teams in a company, they need to collaborate on each other’s activities and objectives so that they can work together effectively rather than operate autonomously as individual units.

That’s where building a team of teams comes in!

The Right Information Gives Us The Power To Make Better Decisions: The Benefits Of Sharing Intelligence

In order for a team of teams to effectively make decisions in complex conditions, it needs to have an understanding of the entire system in which it operates.

Without this shared understanding, teams will make decisions that are good only for them, but not necessarily good for the company overall.

As illustrated by author Taylor’s example of sensitive intelligence tucked away in garbage bags in a closet, one team could be working hard towards their individual objective and yet still miss the picture of the overall goal.

That’s why he chose to create a more open approach to handling information by setting up a Joint Operations Center and distributing emails to those who may be affected.

He even televized weekly briefs so everyone on his Task Force was aware of mission developments.

By becoming transparent and ensuring the whole System was visible, Taylor enabled members of his Task Force to think critically about their roles and how they impacted the greater operation – fostering an environment where strategic moves could be made with confidence.

For Effective Team Of Teams, Work To Foster Bonds Just Like Within A Single Team

Creating a team of teams is more complex than just throwing people into a room and telling them to work together.

It requires developing strong relationships among the teams and within a single team for the system to truly take off.

The bonds need to be just as close and trusting between teams as those shared by individual team members within their own groups.

To foster these relationships, it’s essential for members of different teams to share experiences with each other on a regular basis.

The author of Team of Teams, General Stanley McChrystal, implemented an exchange program where members from one team would spend at least six months in another division – a Navy SEAL would go to an Army Special Forces team, and vice versa – in order to build closer ties.

If members still can’t recall any friendly faces from other teams, it’s time to arrange more opportunities for them to interact and understand each other better.

Ultimately, forming an effective team of teams depends on building positive working relationships between teams that are just as strong as those within individual teams – otherwise it will never achieve its full potential.

The Role Of Leaders In A Team Of Teams: Empowering The Teams With Autonomy And Shared Consciousness

A team of teams cannot be successful without the autonomy to make decisions.

Without the ability to react quickly, any team won’t be able to keep up with changes in our fast-paced world.

We need teams that can act independently and autonomously – but this must be done in a structured and careful manner, beginning with sharing and understanding the right kind of information.

This is why it’s so important for companies to have shared consciousness – knowing what information they have, enabling them to make decisions.

This makes empowered execution possible – allowing team members to take on situations that require immediate action without waiting for approval from higher-ups.

This comes from empowering the people on your team with all the tools needed for decision-making before granting them control over when and how they use those tools.

Leaders still have a role in a team of teams, however; their presence maintains the structure and flow of accurate information that allows empowered execution to succeed.

Leaders should not simply hand over power blindly – instead, they must ensure that teams are equipped with enough knowledge to make educated decisions on their own.

The Leader Of A Team Of Teams: Sparking Conversations And Empowering Teams To Make Decisions

When leading a team of teams, the leader must recognize that much of the problem-solving and decision-making is best left to the individual teams.

Rather than acting as a puppet master barking orders from the shadows, the leader’s role here is to nurture and maintain the culture of their team.

In essence, they have to be like a gardener tending to a garden – needed occasionally for support, but mitigating control and allowing for maximum growth.

This entails giving them room and encouragement to make their own decisions, while simultaneously fostering an atmosphere where everyone feels heard and respected.

It’s also important for the leader to step in when needed, such as sparking conversations or ensuring that everyone has their part in making sure agendas are met without forgetting too much detail or ignoring potential issues.

Overall, when it comes to managing a team of teams, leaders must note that their job isn’t primarily focusing on conducting day-to-day operations – instead they should concentrate on providing guidance and direction so that their team will remain cohesive, unified and empowered to make crucial decisions themselves.

Wrap Up

The Team of Teams book provides an actionable plan for how organizations today can manage complexity and become more adaptive.

It encourages companies to drop the PowerPoint presentations and head for the whiteboards instead.

By using whiteboards, teams have a dynamic way to brainstorm ideas and are better able to understand the complexities of the problems at hand.

At its core, this book is meant to show companies how they can turn their workforce into one unified team with a single vision – by creating teams of teams.

And that’s its final summary: when everyone works together towards a common goal, anything is achievable.

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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