Team of Teams by Stanley McChrystal
Team of Teams shares lessons learned from the Joint Task Force efforts during the war in Iraq in the early 2000s. The Joint Task Force was made up of some of the world’s most talented operators with some of the best technology yet was having trouble with the enemy. The JTF was built based on what had become the normal means of war and yet it was now outdated. The Al Qaeda in Iraq was a decentralized, nimble organization. They operated to cause chaos and could use modern technology to share videos that could go viral and raise support with ease. Information was king, and yet it took too long to get it, process it, and utilize it. There were old methods that no longer were effective. Drastic changes were made to integrate various special operations groups. Operators needed to understand how the different units functioned. DOD, CIA, and other agencies needed to be integrated as well and information needed to be shared. Instead of pushing information up the ladder, trust was instilled at the appropriate level to make the right call of action. By shifting the approach, efficiency jumped up dramatically. Information was now more valuable and could be utilized which meant success and subsequent successes.
How it influenced me
The book posed many examples and topics which led to greater thought levels. We often forecast to make predictions and yet are rarely accurate. It is good to plan for the next step, but it is crucial to have the ability to quickly adapt. Regarding information, there are a few areas it falls within: we know what we know, we know what we don’t know, and we don’t know what we don’t know. How can we speed up the process in shifting from we don’t know what we don’t know, to we know what we don’t know? I believe once we know what we don’t know, it is possible to find such information given capabilities and access. The problem that is harder is getting something to our awareness. Perhaps the key is to have a designated time of the year or quarter to purposefully reflect and search for such items. Perhaps it means having a teammate search purposefully as part of their job duties. Something needs to be done because in the gap in time until it becomes in our awareness, we are subject to the actions of others. Whether it is business or military, this is not ideal for our preferred outcomes.