Team of Teams
In 2003 General Stanley McChrystal assumed command of the Joint Special Operations Task Force in Iraq. He and his staff were able to plan, execute, and debrief targeted raids conducted at greatly increased speed. But still they were losing the war. They faced al-Qaeda, an enemy who was spontaneous, decentralized, and agile, made up of terrorist cells that could plan and execute attacks without recourse to a chain of command. JSOC was often caught unaware by the latest attack and constantly a step behind. They needed to do something different and be more like their enemy: a networked, adaptable force. Small teams such as Navy SEALs operated in this adaptable manner by avoiding Command & Control hierarchy slowing everything down. The proven approach was extended to replace the entire command by a set of connected teams, a team of teams.
The change was founded on understanding the difference between Order and Complex systems. War is a complex environment. Progress is made by experimenting and seeing what works, then amplifying the good and disrupting the bad. As McChrystal said: 'Little of our transformation was planned. Few of the plans that we did develop unfolded as envisioned. Instead, we evolved in rapid iterations, changing—assessing—changing again'.
The book outlines 5 principles that guided their transformation:
* Have a common purpose.
* Foster shared consciousness.
* Empowered execution.
* Build trust.
* Leader as gardener.
Source: General Stanley McChrystal, Tantum Collins, David Silverman, and Chris Fussell, Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World
, May 2015.
⇨ Please comment if you have further info or ideas re this approach.