Leadership: Lead, Follow or Get Out of the Way Part 2

Teams of Teams

Welcome back to those who are following the Leadership: Lead, Follow or Get Out of the Way series that are posted on Sundays. For you new readers, Welcome! Feel free to check out the other posts in this series. The information will greatly enhance your leadership knowledge.

Today we will delve into the concept of Teams. Like it or not, we are forced to operate in environments on a day to day basis. The individuals who can navigate these challenges successfully are better equipped to have premier relationships and results to whatever the task might be.

As you know, I will always advocate a book or author to further explore various topics. That being said, Lesson Two's book is Team of Teams by Stan McChrystal. It covers teamwork from a military slant, however, that will not be the focus of this post. The military method and models make for interesting case studies because Leadership is a literal life or death matter for these types of people.

Lesson Two

Be part of my team! This seems to be an adage that we as human beings are bombarded with constantly. At home, work, and when we enjoy the activities that don't fall into the time-consuming first two categories. This can be tiresome if we are unable to maximize our presence and goals while belonging to these teams.

Remember two words for this post: Efficiency and Adaptability.

In terms of teams, the goal is Efficiency, that's why we work together to accomplish goals. Ten people can complete a task or project, hypothetically, ten times faster that a single individual. Of course, this is not always the case.

Having been presented with this issue of Efficiency, Stanley McChrystal talks in-depth of of how large scale Leadership can destroy the Adaptability that is so important in turning dreams and goals into reality.

Things to keep in mind, the structure of an organization, the vision and goals can only be accomplished in the direction, purpose and motivation of the members that make up the team are aligned and clearly stated.

Chapter Six of Team of Teams states, "...Team dynamics are powerful but delicate" (McChrystal, 2015). Exploring this concept further, we see that there is no miraculous cure for great leadership or strong teams. Instead, it is a constant work in progress. 

How can you as an individual contribute the best effort on the team? Team of Teams helps us out by pointedly tackling the topic by saying, "On a team of teams, every individual does not have to have a relationship with every other individual; instead, the relationships between the constituent teams need to resemble those between individuals on a given team (McChrystal, 2015). 

Mind-blowing isn't it? This has a lot to do with the nature of our world in the 21st century. The rise of connective technology and expanding world population drives this new need for Adaptable teams. Because the stiff and out-dated of doing things were getting Stanley McChrystal's troops killed on the battlefield.

How does this apply to your situation? Simple, keep an open mind when leading up, to the side and down, as discussed in our first module of the Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way series. This will allow Adaptability to flow in and around your organizational make up. No longer will your team be constricted in one way of thinking or doing supporting tasks that will achieve the desired outcome per the team's purpose.

Finally, consider two more things to remain Adaptable, "The two major determinants of idea flow...are 'engagement' within a small group like a team, a department, or a neighborhood, and 'exploration'—frequent contact with other units. In other words: a team of teams" (McChrystal, 2015). 

To recap on Lesson Two, be Efficient and Adaptable, this will make accomplishments a reality. Remember that teams can be powerful, but are also delicate because individuals have needs, motivations and issues. The last point was communication on a large scale, breaking your group down into small groups and then communicating to other small groups, as a team working with other teams.

Thank you for joining the pursuit of leadership and keep a look out for weekly installments of Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way.

Work Cited:

McChrystal, S. (2015). Team of Teams: New rules of Engagement for a Complex World. London: Portfolio/Penguin.

Team of Teams by Stanley McChrystal

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