“Team of Teams” from war exp. to leadership lesson

“Team of Teams” is one of the great leadership books written by the author General Stanley McChrystal with three others Contributors. Unlike the others leadership books, “Team of Teams” will give tell you the leadership lesson from the war experience of the author. In May 2015, the famous “Penguin Publishing Group” released the book. Interestingly, General Stanley, the Lead Author of the book, is the retired United States Army general. He is famous for his “2000s Joint Special Operations Command” of Afghanistan and the middle east. Furthermore, He is also one of the New York Times bestselling authors. 

The story took place in 2004 in Iraq, when General Stanley McChrystal took the command of “Joints Special Operations Task Force”. During the mission, the allied forces have so many advantages over an Islamic extremists terrorist group, Al Qaeda. They have more numbers, equipment, and training. But these benefits didn’t work out there. Fortunately, he found out that their benefits are not working and they should change their military tactics either. 

The terrorist group was using the decentralized network which can move quickly and hide within the local people. So how does he change his tactics and how did he lead his team? You will find the detailed information and the storyline of this book in the original one. But don’t be disappointed, because now I am going to tell you some valuable leadership lesson learned from the book “Team of Teams”.

Lesson 01 – The pyramid model isn’t always good

In this “Team of Teams” book, the author doesn’t tell this leadership lesson directly. He told it with his Iraq operation experience. In the experience, as I said previously, Al Qaeda was doing mobilized attacks without having a centralized network. The allies hit the seriously, but only the front line and Infantry knew well about the difficulties. He found out the risk early and let his team speak, thus he can know the detailed information from real battle filed. Although he told his lesson with war experience in “Team of Teams”, this lesson is also true in business or leadership skills. 

Most of the companies are using the pyramid model. A programmer knows how to code and their currency project’s complexity. Whereas, marketing and sales team know exactly what are the trending in the current market situation. But the decision-makers or the top-level officers didn’t know well about them. That can lead to problems for a company. However, nowadays the company usually makes weekly team meetings in order to know about the current situation and the difficulties from the development teams. That is the solution for the pyramid model, but if the decision-makers didn’t listen, then that is not going to end well. 

Lesson 02 – Be Flexible 

From “Team of Teams” book, the author tells how people should be react based on the situation. In his case, they already think the war will win because of their advantages like numerous allies, weapons, and training. But in reality, they have faced different tactics from the enemy. While the author, General Stanley McChrystal, found out the problem from his team, he change his tactic based on the situation. In another word, he makes fast and flexible decisions because of their current situation. This shows how people or leaders need to be flexible in real life. 

It is true that he told with his war experience, however, leaders from the business company should also learn this leadership lesson. If the leader is lack of flexible and doesn’t listen to his team, they will more likely to make the wrong decision. I like to end this lesson with my favorite quotes from Brain Tracy

“Be clear about your goal but be flexible about the process of achieving it.”

Brain Tracy

Lesson 03 – Teams are important

The final valuable lesson from the book “Team of Teams” is about Team. This core concept is already included in Steve Jobs Biography Summary. But the message from this book is wider. For a normal group, there is just a team. But if the groups of people become bigger and wider, there should be a team of teams. For example, in a small company, there will be just five to ten people like managers, developers, designers, sales, and marketing. There are no individual teams within a team yet. But in an enterprise, there are lots of individual departments and teams within a big team. So the author said if you have a big team, there should be an approach for it. 

Here are the four amazing team approach tips from this book –

  1. The purpose of an organisation should be clear 
  2. Build the trust within the team and make sure there is the communication across all team
  3. Let everyone involved to execute somethings
  4. Leaders should be diligent, understandable and quick decision in urgent situation

In Conclusion, The book “Team and Teams” is a great book explaining leadership lessons with the author’s experience. Though I have told you the most valuable lessons from the books, that doesn’t mean there is nothing left in the book. There are a lot of things to explore and you may recognize the concept better with his interesting story. So I highly suggest reading the original book of it. 

Please don’t hesitate to say “hello” and tell us what we need | YOUR VOICE IS OUR RESPONSIBILITY

Powered by RedCircle

English-Myanmar Glossary for this article
Team of Teams Glossary

Leave a Comment