Team of Teams by General Stanley McChrystal
My brother in-law, David Huisenga is someone that I look up to. He’s smart, compassionate and doesn’t beat around the bush. He’s usually very quiet, so when he has something to say, I listen. He’s been a successful business man, now at the top of his career (so far) as the CEO of a communication company in Washington DC, working directly with the government on a variety of projects.
This last summer we were fortunate enough to be able to enjoy a vacation with him and his family to the Black Hills. During our vacation I was able to talk to him about business, I enjoy picking his brain when I can. As an introvert, I find it fascinating how much of a successful leader he is, managing and motivating his team on a regular basis. In our short conversations, he taught me a lot about delegation, focus, effective communication and leadership. When to speak up and say something, and more importantly, when not to. He suggested a book for me, written by his own personal friend and colleague, General Stanley McChrystal. Of course, hanging on every word, I made sure to read the book – and what an eye-opener it has been in today’s world of immediate communication.
The basic idea this book is demonstrating, is the old way of teams, using hierarchy to manage important decision making is dead. Life moves too fast now for decisions to make its way down the pipeline. It’s much more effective to teach another or secondary leader in the group on how to decide on certain situations. This can be done by a specific algorithm or training of thought process, but the point is not to bottleneck the situation to one person.
Furthermore, the teams must not be siloed into columns with no communication between them, but it is also too chaotic for all team members in one department to know all the team members of another department. So the solution is that one or two members of the team knows or better yet, has a relationship with one or two members of another department as shown in the above graph designed by Beau Gordon.
My company, with a total of five employees on a busy day … doesn’t exactly have multiple departments of teams, however … I am making sure to build my business with this in mind. Our team is scattered over three states, so we do naturally have our separate departments, so I take the steps now to strategically bring specific employees together to create relationships that benefit each other in our processes and to expedite our decision making. I look forward to using this more in the future as our team grows! Thanks David!