Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World

by Gen. Stanley McChrystal

Hardcover, 2015


Portfolio (2015), Edition: 1, 304 pages


As commander of Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), General Stanley McChrystal played a crucial role in the War on Terror. But when he took the helm in 2004, America was losing that war badly: despite vastly inferior resources and technology, Al Qaeda was outmaneuvering America's most elite warriors. McChrystal came to realize that today's faster, more interdependent world had overwhelmed the conventional, top-down hierarchy of the U.S. military. Al Qaeda had seen the future: a decentralized network that could move quickly and strike ruthlessly. To defeat such an enemy, JSOC would have to discard a century of management wisdom, and pivot from a pursuit of mechanical efficiency to organic adaptability. Under McChrystal's leadership, JSOC remade itself, in the midst of a grueling war, into something entirely new: a network that combined robust centralized communication with decentralized managerial authority. As a result, they beat back Al Qaeda. In this book, McChrystal shows not only how the military made that transition, but also how similar shifts are possible in all organizations, from large companies to startups to charities to governments. In a turbulent world, the best organizations think and act like a team of teams, embracing small groups that combine the freedom to experiment with a relentless drive to share what they've learned. Drawing on a wealth of evidence from his military career, the private sector, and sources as diverse as hospital emergency rooms and NASA's space program, McChrystal frames the existential challenge facing today's organizations, and proposes a compelling, effective solution.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member jpsnow
Having read several books recently on teamwork and collaboration, what I've not found is one that demonstrates how a leader realized what limiting factors needed to be addressed in their particular situation. Team of Teams does just that. Based on McChrystal's successful tour commanding the hunt
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for insurgents in Iraq, this book uses that journey as a story arc for explaining how to achieve the teamwork needed in our complex, fast-changing modern world. The military cases are as illuminating as they are gripping, and the author shares just as many examples from business and medicine so as not to make this a self-congratulatory biopic. To overcome the natural inertia of siloed intelligence gathering and decision making in an interdependent, fast-changing world, the answer is to develop great teamwork within teams and across teams. These teams of teams won't naturally bond the same way a smaller team of ten or up to thirty people might. By seeding at least some individual rapport across teams and encouraging open access to common information, leaders can cultivate shared purpose and trust, which gets reinforced the more the whole network sees examples of success toward their common end.
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LibraryThing member paven
Not even the military thinks classic command and control is an good way to work.

Original publication date





1591847486 / 9781591847489


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