General McChrystal Teaches Us that This is the Era for Teams of Teams


it’s a simple progression to grasp (not to implement and put into practice; but, to grasp).

A person – a single person – develops skills.  And then commiimagets to using those skills effectively, while always adding to his/her skill set. And then, that person becomes a member of a team. Maybe he joins the team on his own; maybe she is recruited into or assigned to the team. Now, the team is made up of competent, skill-rich, always skills-enhancing individuals.

But the team is greater than any one individual on the team.

Our old organizational structures tend to make us create teams dictated to from above. And, we create competitive team culture – “my team is better than your team.” Thus, we finally get individuals to collaborate, but teams keep ideas and breakthroughs from each other. Collaboration stops at the single team level.

This is a formula for success, for sure – in yesterday’s environment. But a formula for failure in today’s environment, and certainly in tomorrow’s environment. VUCA is not new anymore; it is simply the ever present reality.

What I have written is my first attempt to describe the premise of General McChrystal’s new book, Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World. Here’s one quote from the book, that states the premise clearly:

We looked at the behaviors of our smallest units and found ways to extend them to an organization of thousands, spread across three continents. We became what we called “a team of teams”: a large command that captured at scale the traits of agility normally limited to small teams.

In other words, every “small team” is part of a much larger TEAM of teams. Thus, openness, transparency, agility – and no top-down micro-controlling – is the modern organizational necessity.

I am just beginning this book, and my first impression is that it makes sense. The way forward will have to be with talented individuals, working on teams with other talented individuals, with those teams teaming up with other/all other teams in the organization.

I will present my synopsis of this book at the August 7 First Friday Book Synopsis. I think this book is absolutely worth a careful look…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s