Polycentric Blog

AsianAccess logo 2018tag white shadow

Article Index

Team of Teams

team james thomas 7u1SFd5AL7I unsplash 640pxIn 2015, General Stanley McChrystal partnered with researchers from Yale University to study the fight against the Al Qaeda network. McChrystal argues that “to succeed, maybe even to survive, in the new environment, organizations and leaders must fundamentally change. Efficiency, once the sole icon on the hill, must make room for adaptability in structures, processes, and mindsets that is often uncomfortable.”8

According to McChrystal, the U.S. military is the single most efficient, prepared, and powerful force in the world. Yet with all their might and proficiency, they could not defeat the Al Qaeda network: “We were stronger, more efficient, more robust. But AQI was agile and resilient. In complex environments, resilience often spells success, while even the most brilliantly engineered fixed solutions are often insufficient or counterproductive.”9

Many leadership books of past eras highlight the role of the CEO, the pastor, or General Manager. McChrystal states that this type of leadership led to more things being produced in a faster time for less overall cost. However, “This new world [of conflict with Al-Qaeda] required a fundamental rewriting of the rules of the game. In order to win, we would have to set aside many of the lessons that millennia of military procedure and a century of optimized efficiencies had taught us.”10 He adds, “These events and actors were not only more interdependent than in previous wars, they were also faster. The environment was not just complicated, it was complex.”11

McChrystal realized that their leadership needed a new theme: “It Takes a Network to Defeat a Network.”12 He states, “Cooperative adaptability is essential to high-performing teams.”13 McChrystal argues that a more decentralized structure is better designed for this type of warfare: “Adam Smith’s ‘invisible hand’ of the market—the notion that order best arises not from centralized design but through the decentralized interactivity of buyers and sellers—is an example of ‘emergence’. In other words, order can emerge from the bottom up, as opposed to being directed, with a plan, from the top down.”14

Given these new realities, the military instituted a systems form of thinking where information was shared broadly. It was less efficient, but it created holistic awareness and allowed them to operate as a team of teams. McChrystal cites the research of Sandy Pentland from MIT, who found that “sharing information and creating strong horizontal relationships improves the effectiveness.”15 McChrystal concludes with insights on wisdom for leadership in a complex era:

Effective adaptation to emerging threats and opportunities requires the disciplined practice of empowered execution. Individuals and teams closest to the problem, armed with unprecedented levels of insights from across the network, offer the best ability to decide and act decisively… The doctrine of empowered execution may at first glance seem to suggest that leaders are no longer needed. That is certainly the connection made by many who have described networks such as AQI as “leaderless.” But this is wrong. Without Zarqawi, AQI would have been an entirely different organization. In fact, due to the leverage leaders can harness through technology and managerial practices like shared consciousness and empowered execution, senior leaders are now more important than ever, but the role is very different from that of the traditional heroic decision maker.16

Discussing Polycentric Leadership

Joe Handley

Let's continue the discussion. Feel free to connect with Joe online...

  • blog blog
  • twitter twitter
  • instagram instagram
  • facebook facebook
  • Bio bio page
  • email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Partner Sites


eastern voices logo 250x40

go2japan logo grey

PCL logo horiz halftone

Search this Site


They can buy adipex online and with the help of this medicine it will be possible to achieve their aim.When you feel worse and you can't have a good rest throughout the whole week you need to pay a visit to the doctor in order to get a receipt for ambien onlineWhen you are in seeking such treatment it is worth to highlight ultram onlinepriligy online will provide you with a chance to manage with this problem with minimal losses and will encourage you to return your sex life along with your self-reliance.clomid online will give you an opportunity to pass through this test without any damage and will enable you to recover sexual relationships as well as your self-assurance. The natural supplements are seen as being, on the whole and in many respects, safer than doxycycline online.When your doctor will recommend propecia online don't contemplate and just stick to his / her advice.We are looking at a situation right there on normal synthetic antibiotic works through directly cut down (kill} the harmful as well as, inevitably, some helpful bacteria. This is against a situation where standard natural amoxil online works of not only eliminate the bacteria, but additionally additionally improve the body's natural be able to fight such bacterial infections in the future.viagra online is regarded as a successful pill for the remedy of a premature ejaculation.