Whereas General Stanley McChrystal is in the military, his book has far reaching implications for businesses. In his book “Team of Teams” – General Stanley McChrystal shares military strategies that brought the US Military success against Al-Qaeda terror groups in Iraq. General McChrystal after a few months of understanding the way they operated got to understand why the United States military which is arguably the most powerful and most resourced army was failing. He describes the situation he found himself the same as a FORTUNE500 Company trying to fight a swarm of START-UPS.
In the words of Zig Ziglar, “In world that is ever changing the learner will inherit the earth while the learned will be perfectly equipped to deal with the world that no-longer exists.:
Gen. McChrystal shares truths that I personally find applicable in my leadership sphere in business. In the past when businesses planned for difficult to predict, businesses carried out a SWOT analysis and used it to gauge their competition in order to better their competitive advantage. Today, that seems not to be the case because of the unknown competitor.
The businesses worked with a reductionist approaches that produced efficiencies which was gave them the competitive edge. This however meant that in case the processes changed, it meant that the efficacy was not necessary. Finding the optimal way of doing things. For example, in production manufacturing in order to become profitable it is important for the business to invest in finding an optimal process of installing doors on every vehicle. This meant that efficiency increased and hence profitability. This optimized process however didn’t cater for radical changes. This meant that a but with the change of the vehicle design the door fitting process was rendered irrelevant. In business today, the speed at which technology is impacting businesses means that it is almost impossible to invest in optimum processes because of the complex nature of markets. Today, consumer demands are almost unpredictable. This means that the reductionist approach works in complicated as opposed to complex environments.
Complicated and Complex Situations:
Today in business, we are always dealing with Volatile, Unpredictable, Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA) environments. Volatile because of the is one that exists today in the business space. A complicated environment is one that is difficult to understand but predictable. For example, a vehicle is a complicated system but it can be understood however, weather systems are complex. The complex nature of the markets means that businesses need to build capacity to respond to the ever changing demands of the markets. In motor vehicle manufacturing for example, there was a time air bags were an extra feature, but because of the complex markets they have become standard for all cars. The consumers have also demanded more extras like play stations in the card, sensors, cameras and GPS systems in order to get a more robust car.
Like wise in business, the demand for one-stop services by clients have driven many businesses to create multiple departments to handle all these demands under one roof. Nomad cannot only design LOGOs but must apply them on stationery and print for the clients to deliver finished products.
Robust Vs. Resilient:
In as much as we are building a robust system. This means that the complex nature of the clients’ demands is being met by the numerous departments with in the system. The ability to respond to all needs along the “value” chain means that the company will require resilience in order to be sustainable.
General McChrystal earmarks 4 things that are needed to build the resilience of any organization and these are;
General Stanley McChrystal’s book team of teams calls for businesses to restructure and operate like small multiple businesses under one big umbrella in order to be both robust and resilient. This in business means that for a business to thrive it must be willing to invest in their employees’ growth to stop thinking like employees but think like entrepreneurs.