Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World
What if you could combine the agility, adaptability, and cohesion of a small team with the power and resources of a giant organization? 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.