THE OLD RULES NO LONGER APPLY . . .
When General Stanley McChrystal took command of the Joint Special Operations Task Force in 2004, he quickly realized that conventional military tactics were failing. Read more...
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THE OLD RULES NO LONGER APPLY . . .
When General Stanley McChrystal took command of the Joint Special Operations Task Force in 2004, he quickly realized that conventional military tactics were failing. Al Qaeda in Iraq was a decentralized network that could move quickly, strike ruthlessly, then seemingly vanish into the local population. The allied forces had a huge advantage in numbers, equipment, and training--but none of that seemed to matter.
TEACHING A LEVIATHAN TO IMPROVISE
It's no secret that in any field, small teams have many ad-vantages--they can respond quickly, communicate freely, and make decisions without layers of bureaucracy. But organizations taking on really big challenges can't fit in a garage. They need management practices that can scale to thousands of people.
General McChrystal led a hierarchical, highly disci-plined machine of thousands of men and women. But to defeat Al Qaeda in Iraq, his Task Force would have to acquire the enemy's speed and flexibility. Was there a way to combine the power of the world's mightiest military with the agility of the world's most fearsome terrorist network? If so, could the same principles apply in civilian organizations?
A NEW APPROACH FOR A NEW WORLD
McChrystal and his colleagues discarded a century of conventional wisdom and remade the Task Force, in the midst of a grueling war, into something new: a network that combined extremely transparent communication with decentralized decision-making authority. The walls between silos were torn down. Leaders looked at the best practices of the smallest units and found ways to ex-tend them to thousands of people on three continents, using technology to establish a oneness that would have been impossible even a decade earlier. The Task Force became a -team of teams---faster, flatter, more flex-ible--and beat back Al Qaeda.
BEYOND THE BATTLEFIELD
In this powerful book, McChrystal and his colleagues show how the challenges they faced in Iraq can be rel-evant to countless businesses, nonprofits, and other or-ganizations. The world is changing faster than ever, and the smartest response for those in charge is to give small groups the freedom to experiment while driving every-one to share what they learn across the entire organiza-tion. As the authors argue through compelling examples, the team of teams strategy has worked everywhere from hospital emergency rooms to NASA. It has the potential to transform organizations large and small.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-03-23
- Reviewer: Staff
Retired U.S. general McChrystal (My Share of the Task) and his coauthors draw on their respective military and management experience to construct this well-written business book about “what’s different in today’s world and what we must do about it.” There’s some heady stuff in here, including precise descriptions of military procedure, and detailed explorations of the valuable lessons the military has learned recently about collaboration. As McChrystal notes, that change hasn’t been easy for an organization that long prided itself on a strict “command-and-control” flow of power and “need to know” philosophy. The resulting book is a collection of innovations that the modern U.S. Army has embraced—and that most corporations can too. In the new paradigm proposed here, the focus is on “adaptability” instead of “efficiency,” promoting “generalized awareness,” and empowerment. The authors’ abundance of material is made manageable by good organization and some surprisingly strong writing. There are only a few non-military examples (such as GM and Ford’s contrasting organizational approaches), so readers not interested in military strategy may leave this book unfinished; for any other businesspeople, it will get a definite thumbs-up. Agent: Robert Barnett, Williams & Connolly. (May)