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Great inspiration for those looking for cultural changes based on real life examples and bold behaviors. It raises several right questions about how to rethink the regular set of cultural rooted behaviors on traditional corporations.
Good overall view of organizational responsiveness, and it's great that it's exposing more people to the concepts, but it's hardly "the new rules of engagement" or bringing revolutionary insights. All of these concepts have been known and practiced within the context of organizational agility (ie. in "agile software development") for decades. The book Management 3.0 covered the same topics with greater depth back in 2010, and even that book was just an aggregation of what the agile/org complexity domain has learned since the 1990's.
Another incredibly important yet totally overlooked point of context is that the vast majority of the cited systems are life-or-death in their overall mission and goals, which more easily override individual or informal goals. These are incredibly difficult to translate to business domains because those systems typically have far less purpose, and an informal (yet primary) mission of making wealthy leaders and stakeholder's even wealthier.
I first came across General McChrystal on TED speaking about his leadership in the Middle East. His sincere respect for and valuing of the people he led came across very strongly. This book is actually about the benefits of empowerment, something that I am passionate about as a leadership trainer and coach. McChrystal does not only refer to his own experiences of trying to combat Al Qaeda but demonstrates how empowerment with appropriate leadership support works in many different situations, fields and industries. It's a perverse endorsement to say that it's probably one of those books that will be shunned by the people who need to read it most, the (still too many) self-focused leaders who believe authoritarian control is the only way to get through crises and big change. I saw yet another one of them fail with that approach this year. With a bit of humility and courage he could have applied what this book teaches and engaged the talents of his people to solve the knotty problems he faced instead of creating an aggressive, bullying culture that sent morale through the floor and got him sacked.
I first heard of Team of Teams back in 2019 when I attended a meeting hosted by thought leader Gene Kim in which he mentioned General Stanley McChrystal's work. Since then, I have listened to many podcasts, webinars and conference talks in which this book is referenced. As a result, I felt I needed to read it! I am glad I did!
What I find most appealing about Team of Teams is that McChrystal has written about how he changed a large organisation to adapt to a new threat that traditional structures were unable to tackle. Taking this experience and documenting it in an easy-to-read and engaging thesis takes the reader on a journey of change based on real events that put theory into practice with dramatic positive outcomes.
If you are serious about addressing problems associated with ancient institutional structures that limit the capacity for your organisation to adapt to the more complex environments in which it functions, then this book helps you understand why change is necessary and offers a blueprint of how that change should look.
Some of the ideals of DevOps are based on the ideas that are explained in this book, such as organisations promoting psychological safety as well as building teams and communication that emphasise locality and simplicity. For me, this book gave me those 'aha' moments when abstract concepts become crystal clear actions in my own mind.
I also read this book in short time owing to the engaging way it is written. I have dog-eared many pages for reference and so will return to this book over and over as I continue along my own journey.
This is an incredibly good book about management, written by a former soldier. It makes the case that management in the knowledge economy needs to operate quite differently if it is to be as effective as good management in the industrial economy.
The difference between complicated and complex, efficient and effective, doing things right or doing the right thing, show the necessary change in perception of challenges and leadership styles required in the 21st century as opposed to the 20th century. This book made me think deeply about what I previously believed was the way to success.