Review of Team of Teams

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  • Applicable


In keeping with his book’s title, US Army General (Ret.) Stanley McChrystal credits a team of writers with collaborating on this unusual management guide. Two are former US Navy SEALs, and a hard-bitten military attitude prevails in the prose. Another is a student of international politics and history at Cambridge University. You won’t be surprised that a man accustomed to being in charge and supported by an almost unlimited number of staffers should recognize how beneficial co-authors can be. However, you might be surprised that a former four-star Army general – and a former Pentagon, governmental and media superstar – would admit that he needed and accepted help and that he celebrates it. getAbstract finds that this attitude speaks to McChrystal’s concept of leadership and to the purpose of his autobiographical book, which sets out the principles you can use to build a “team of teams” – that is, the best possible team compiled from all the potential teams you could create within your organization or company.

About the Authors

US Army General (Ret.) Stanley McChrystal, who also wrote My Share of the Task, commanded US and coalition forces in Afghanistan from 2009 to 2010 and is now a senior fellow at Yale’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs. He co-founded the consultancy CrossLead with former Navy Seal David Silverman, CEO of the McChrystal Group, where Chris Fussell, also a former Seal, is a partner. Tantum Collins is a Marshall Scholar at Cambridge University.


Hard-Won Credentials

Stanley McChrystal’s credentials on issues of leadership and teamwork are hard-won and beyond reproach. He commanded “all American and coalition forces in Afghanistan” and wrote a best-selling memoir, My Share of the Task – a title that underscored McChrystal’s commitment to his identity as one among a body of team members seeking solutions. Though now a business leader and frequent public speaker, McChrystal calls upon his experience leading troops in Afghanistan and Iraq to frame many of his lessons and tales. He writes at length in blunt, basic language that only occasionally veers into military-speak or corporate phrase making. His literary and advice-giving voice is that of a storyteller. Every lesson he offers and every nugget of leadership guidance comes in the form of a fable. He draws from almost every era of history and business, from mythology and from his experiences.

Some fables are the right length, and some run on for pages of description that don’t lead directly to McChrystal’s take-away or main point. None seem too short. This creates the feeling of a solid reference manual, possibly due to McChrystal’s determination to dot the i’s and cross the t’s.

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