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The McChrystal Group — Creating Adaptable Organizations for the Modern Era

a photo of a coat-and-tie-wearing businessman with his hand drawing a graph that has a jagged line going upwards superimposed on a photo of a city representing organizations considering the Team of Teams model of The McChrystal Group

The McChrystal Group was founded in 2011, but its roots actually date back to nearly a decade before then. It began in 2003 when former U.S. Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal was leading the Joint Special Operations Command in Iraq. Chris Fussell, a former U.S. Navy SEAL Officer, was part of his team tasked with pursuing al-Qaeda. Despite having sizable advantages in forces, equipment, and skills, they both found themselves being outmaneuvered. If the mission were to succeed, something would have to change. And indeed, the solution that McChrystal devised is what would eventually become the McChrystal Group’s “Team of Teams” model.

Notably, the Team of Teams approach worked, thus enabling the special operations forces’ missions to succeed. Before long, McChrystal and Fussell later recognized that what worked on the battlefield could also help all types of organizations excel. Modern environments had radically changed, and enterprises had to adapt as well. Ultimately, these realities are what eventually led to the creation of the McChrystal Group.

The Team of Teams Model — A Solution for Adaptability

The McChrystal Group — Creating Adaptable Organizations for the Modern Era Infographic

What McChrystal and Fussell realized in the field was that conventional hierarchical structures were no longer effective. The traditional chain-of-command structures that controlled decision-making were sluggish and slow. In contrast, al-Qaeda was decentralized, agile and flexible. They were able to communicate quickly and make decisions at the moment. This observation is what proved to render many of the special operations forces’ resources less effective.

The Team of Teams strategy, in essence, employs technologies and leadership development to overcome these obstacles. Through transparency and the use of technologies to connect, their military communications became faster and flatter. Through the instillment of leadership skills and the delegation of decision-making authority to smaller units, they were able to achieve greater flexibility. Ultimately, this strategy allowed military operations to excel while leveraging the resource advantages they enjoyed.

The McChrystal Group — Applying the Team of Teams Approach to Industry

The McChrystal Group was formed after McChrystal retired in 2010. Fussell and McChrystal recognized that the military wasn’t alone in dealing with the speed and complexity of modern communications. Essentially, every industry was facing these challenges, and many large organizations, in particular, were having difficulty. As a result, they established the McChrystal Group to show organizations how the Team of Teams approach could help.

Since 2011, the McChrystal Group has made a tremendous impact around the globe. They have guided several enterprises in adopting the Team of Teams strategy while advancing global leadership development. Client engagements now span from North America to South America, Europe and Asia, with nearly every sector represented. As a global advisory consulting and leadership development firm, the McChrystal Group is helping dozens of organizations embrace adaptability.

Adaptability with Benefits of Large Enterprise Resources

While the McChrystal Group challenges the traditional command-and-control organizational structure, the company doesn’t fail to appreciate its benefits. Despite not being agile and reactive, such enterprises with the said structure do enjoy tremendous resources and economies of scale. However, real-time information exchange and consumer awareness require organizations to enable effective lower level decision-making. And that means developing leadership skills from top to bottom.

The Team of Teams approach strives to develop leadership skills within the smallest organizational units to foster these behaviors. At the same time, the strategies from the Team of Teams model encourage shared learning across all organizational domains through transparent communications. And units are encouraged to experiment with solutions that are aligned with a common organizational vision. In achieving these goals, enterprises are much more capable of excelling in today’s world.

The McChrystal Group — Empowering Bold Businesses

Despite being a relatively young consulting company, the McChrystal Group has a number of powerhouse clients. Among them are Cisco, Monsanto, Deutsche Bank, and MD Anderson Cancer Network. Likewise, the list of professionals at the McChrystal Group includes individuals with military, intelligence, academic, business and retail backgrounds. In addition, the McChrystal Group has opened its second headquarters overseas in London to complement its original one in Alexandria, Virginia.

For forward-thinking enterprises prepared to map current problems to change or revise solutions, the Team of Teams approach should be considered. Indeed, the McChrystal Group appears to offer the right insights to get them there.

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