How did seemingly simple communications technology change the environment that you were facing with JSOC? After a series of promotions, in he became an action officer for the Army Special Operations working in the Joint Special Operations Command, and in he led troops in the Gulf War in Iraq. In JSOC, this cycle was 24 hours—not by choice, but in response to the war we were in—and that was completely different. Although admitting fault in big mistakes and taking accountability for the consequences is difficult, it is one of the most important responsibilities a leader has. But, suddenly, that technology became widespread, and instant communication became available to everyone. We have theories of how it works, but ultimately it is people. Cause and effect are clear to everyone. In the military, the top commander formulates a plan and issues an operations order that has the tasks for the next echelon, and they issue and order the tasks for the lower echelon.
McChrystal called Afghan president Hamid Karzai and also publicly apologized to the Afghan people on television. Philosophically, I am hitting key points on a constant basis. In , as a brand-new Marine Corps intelligence officer, I quickly found myself in Iraq trying to make sense of both a massive military bureaucracy and a distributed, adaptable insurgency. That fear in managers of losing control seems rooted in the fact that employees can make some serious errors. But we started by word-processing all of our orders and formatting them, so that when you got details, you could crank them out really quickly. Was it just all down to having good talent or elite trained special operators? If the senior leaders are focused on the growing of each thing, they are not going to spend their time making sure the garden is protected and watered. While efficiency is still a positive goal, you also describe how these ideas of simplifying tasks and centralizing authority may keep us from responding effectively to the rapidly changing environment that technology has created. His wartime innovations in leadership and organization could also have broad applicability for businesses as they strive to deal with kaleidoscopic change and uncertainty. All it could really do was word processing, spreadsheets, and a small database capability. After the event, Gen. That is a fundamental difference for people who were brought up in a more comfortable mode. You could kind of get away with it at that scale. He admitted that at the time, he thought he was doing the right thing. Then you sort of just let go. A combination of all? It is too fast, too complex to process it all here in the center, so we process it across the entire organization without really controlling that process. I am an enthusiast for doing things efficiently. View in article Roderick I. Our organizational structures go here, our office space goes here. In his recent book Team of Teams, he describes how exactly those difficult situations forced him to change as a leader and, in the process, find a new way of structuring and leading organizations in the chaos of the modern technological environment. View in article Although many of the recognizable trends in violence in Iraq, such as the first battle of Fallujah and the first Shia militia uprising, did not emerge until , the signs of instability were already well established by the end of But responsibility can have a broad sense. So how did you stumble onto this? If there are competing or diverging interests, you have a problem from the beginning. If you asked someone to perfectly draw out what was happening in the force and how it was working, I could not have done it. At JSOC, we found that we got pulled so often that we just had to live in complex mode.
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