When even the military takes up the argument against rigid, command-and-control organizations, then you know the battle is won. And that is exactly what General Stanley McChrystal does in his book, “Team of Teams.”
McChrystal makes the case for adaptable rather than hierarchical organizations. Why? Because in complex, fast-changing environments, organizations that are quick to adapt are organizations that succeed. Adaptability isn’t optimized in the traditional top-down hierarchy where decisions come down from above. And it isn’t optimized in a command-of-teams hierarchy in which those same decisions flow down to teams. Instead, adaptability is optimized when there is a team of teams network that communicates closely and makes interactive decisions as the situation dictates.
To be clear, this requires clearly defined and distributed authority, strong capabilities at the team level, and a culture in which situational adaptability is encouraged.
How well does this describe your organization? How adaptable is your organization? And what is it costing you by not being more adaptable?