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#TeamOfTeams “We will argue that the familiar pursuit of efficiency must change course. Efficiency remains important, but the ability to adapt to complexity and continual change has become an imperative.”
#TeamOfTeams “Adaptability, not efficiency, must become our central competency.”
#TeamOfTeams “The soldier-turned-historian Josephus was said to have described Roman army drills as “bloodless battles,” and their successful battles as “bloody drills.””
#TeamOfTeams “Like the proverbial general always fighting the last war...”
#TeamOfTeams “The reality is that small things in a complex system may have no effect or a massive one, and it is virtually impossible to know which will turn out to be the case.”
#TeamOfTeams “”Speed is money.””
#TeamOfTeams “Attempts to control complex systems by using ... mechanical, reductionist thinking ... - breaking everything down into component parts, or optimizing individual elements - tend to be pointless at best or destructive at worst.”
#TeamOfTeams “In fact, we were as bureaucratic as anyone else; we were just more efficient in our execution.”
#TeamOfTeams Some new terms I liked so far:
#limfac - limiting factor
friction - divergence of reality from plan
#TeamOfTeams “Complex systems are fickle and volatile, presenting a broad range of possible outcomes; the type and sheer number of interactions prevent us from making accurate predictions.” This especially applies to #SoftwareTesting so much.
#TeamOfTeams “Data-rich records can be wonderful for explaining how complex phenomena happened and how they might happen, but they can’t tell us when and where they will happen.”
#TeamOfTeams “Gaining understanding is not always the same as predicting.”
#TeamOfTeams “In complex environments, resilience often spells success, while even the most brilliantly engineered fixed solutions are often insufficient or counterproductive.”
#TeamOfTeams “Other countries and organizations are now following suit, stepping away from predictability and focusing on increasing resilience instead.”
#TeamOfTeams “The key lies in shifting our focus from predicting to reconfiguring. By ... - recognizing the inevitability of surprises and unknowns - and concentrating on systems that can survive and indeed benefit from such surprises, we can triumph over volatility.”
#TeamOfTeams “Prediction is not the only way to confront threats; developing resilience, learning how to reconfigure to confront the unknown, is a much more effective way to respond to a complex environment.”
#TeamOfTeams “it proved that teams can be either far less or far more than the sum of their rosters.”
#TeamOfTeams “”Great teams consist of individuals who have learned to trust each other. Over time, they have discovered each other’s strengths and weaknesses, enabling them to play as a coordinated whole.””
#TeamOfTeams “Team members tackling complex environments must all grasp the team’s situation and overarching purpose.”
#TeamOfTeams “Purpose affirms trust, trust affirms purpose, and together they forge individuals into a working team.”
#TeamOfTeams “Brigham and Women’s had never simulated a mass casualty situation across multiple trauma services. There was no real plan, and certainly no rehearsal. Their response was simply an extension of what they do every day - adapt.”
#TeamOfTeams “..., but all were capable of adjusting to the unexpected with creative solutions on the spot, coherently and as a group. Their structure - not their plan - was their strategy.”
#TeamOfTeams “They were doing things right, just not the right thing. ... The crew’s attachment to procedure instead of purpose offers a clear example of the dangers of prizing efficiency over adaptability.”
#TeamOfTeams “The Line Operations Safety Audit ... concludes that 98% of all flights today face one or more threats that, if mishandled, could prove fatal ... But for crews trained in risk adaptation, rather than only risk mitigation, this is not catastrophic.”
#TeamOfTeams “... reflects the increasing complexity of the world - or rather, the tactical understanding that responding to such a world requires greater adaptability, and adaptability is more characteristic of small interactive teams than large top-down hierarchies.”
#TeamOfTeams “Trust and purpose are inefficient: getting to know your colleagues intimately and acquiring a whole-system overview are big time sinks; the sharing of responsibilities generates redundancy.” 1/2
#TeamOfTeams “But this overlap and redundancy - these inefficiencies - are precisely what imbues teams with high-level adaptability and efficacy. Great teams are less like “awesome machines” than awesome organisms.” 2/2
#TeamOfTeams “Resources were shared reluctantly. Our forces lived a proximate but largely parallel existence.”
#TeamOfTeams “... when confined to silos ... teams might achieve tactical adaptability, but will never be able to exhibit those traits at a strategic level.”
#TeamOfTeams “Teams, like many of the topics studied in this book (trust, purpose, the need for adaptability, etc.), can easily devolve into a “bumper sticker solution” - rhetoric parading as real transformation.”
#TeamOfTeams “In the words of one of our SEALs, “The squad is the point at which everyone else sucks. That other squadron sucks, the other SEAL teams suck, and our Army counterparts definitely suck.” Of course, every other squd thought the same thing.”
#TeamOfTeams “We didn’t need every member of the Task Force to know everyone else; we just needed everyone to know someone on every team, so that when they thought about, or had to work with, the unit that bunked next door ... they envisioned a friendly face”
#TeamOfTeams “We needed to enable a team operating in an interdependent environment to understand the butterfly-effect ramifications of their work and make them aware of the other teams with whom they would have to cooperate in order to achieve strategic ... success.”
#TeamOfTeams “By focusing on the component parts rather than the overall process, we were missing the fundamental problems. Speeding up the individual elements of the system did nothing to eliminate the blinks between them that most stymied our efforts.”
#TeamOfTeams “Such absurdities reflect the truth that most organizations are more concerned with how best to control information than how best to share it.”
#TeamOfTeams “The problem is that the logic of ‘need to know’ depends on the assumption that somebody - some manager or algorithm or bureaucracy- actually knows who does and does not need to know which material.”
#TeamOfTeams “Continuing to function under the illusion that we can understand and foresee exactly what will be relevant to whom is hubris. It might feel safe but it is the opposite. ... Everyone has to see the system in its entirety for the plan to work.”
#TeamOfTeams “His vision for NASA was that of a single interconnected mind - an emergent intelligence like the ‘joint cognition’ that defines extraordinary teams.”
#TeamOfTeams “NASA leadership understood that, when creating an interactive product, confining specialists to a silo was stupid: high-level success depended on low-level inefficiencies.”
#TeamOfTeams “... it showed that in a domain characterized by interdependence and unknowns, contextual understanding is key; whatever efficiency is gained through silos is outweighed by the costs of ‘interface failures.’”
#TeamOfTeams “Medical school is education, first aid is training. ... Education is resilient, training is robust.”
#TeamOfTeams “We did not want all the teams to become generalists ... Diverse specialized abilities are essential. We wanted to fuse generalized awareness with specialized expertise.”
#TeamOfTeams “We dubbed this goal - this state of emergent, adaptive organizational intelligence - shared consciousness, and it became the cornerstone of our transformation.”
#TeamOfTeams “The appreciation for serendipitous encounters embodied by Bloomberg’s bullpen and Silicon Valley’s open plans is a way of saying, ‘We don’t know what connections and conversations will prove valuable.’”
#TeamOfTeams “countless managers, eager to adopt the new trend that promises innovation but reluctant to abandon the org chart, have done away with cubicles only to produce a noisier, more distracting environment that is neither efficient nor effective.”
#TeamOfTeams “‘The dark side of this is that not all organizations are intelligent and progressive. Lots are run by crass people who can take the same equipment and create hellholes. ...’”
#TeamOfTeams “Technically it was complex, financially it was expensive, but we were trying to build a culture of sharing”
#TeamOfTeams “We needed to bind everybody into a single enterprise, but we had no explicit authority to do so.”
#TeamOfTeams “For bureaucrats who had built careers on discretion and never putting a toe out of line by oversharing, our way of working was anathema.”
#TeamOfTeams “The critical first step was to share our own information widely and be generous with our own people and resources. From there, we hoped that human relationships we built through that generosity would carry the day.”
#TeamOfTeams “One individual, properly empowered, became a conduit to a larger network that could contribute back into our process.”
#TeamOfTeams “Eventually we had seven thousand people attending almost daily for up to two hours. To some management theorists, that sounds like a nightmare of inefficiency, but ... no one wanted to miss it.”
#TeamOfTeams “By having thousands of personnel listen to these daily interactions, we saved an incalculable amount of time that was no longer needed to seek clarification or permission.”
#TeamOfTeams “Encouragement to collaborate tends to be more of a bumper sticker sligan than an actual managerial practice. In an interdependent environment, however, collaboration may be necessary to survival.”
#TeamOfTeams “The stronger the ties between our teams ... the higher the likelihood we would achieve the level of cooperation we needed.”
#TeamOfTeams “Too often we viewed our partners solely in terms of what we could get and give. We began to make progress when we started looking at these relationships as just that: relationships - parts of a network, not cogs in a machine with outputs and inputs.”
#TeamOfTeams “A man the US government had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to train as a SEAL was, for three months, a glorified garbage man and fast food delivery boy. But when the situation heated up ... our man was exactly where he needed to be.”
#TeamOfTeams “Receiving a talentless functionary frequently meant that his home agency was planning to stonewall; a superstar showed they were eager to engage.”
#TeamOfTeams “The interaction ... once uncomfortable and mechanical, is now fluid and natural; they trust one another and knew that cooperation is in their own interests, as well as for the greater good.”
#TeamOfTeams “No single supervisor had planned or even dictated in the operation in real time; the solution emerged from a dense knot of interactions at the ground level.”
#TeamOfTeams “Only with deep, empathetic familiarity could these different units function so seamlessly together ... What on surface seemed like an inefficient use of time in fact laid the foundation for our adaptability.”
#TeamOfTeams “Together, these two cornerstones - systemic understanding and strong lateral connectivity - grounded shared consciousness.”
#TeamOfTeams “Like other large endeavors... GM discovered that what worked in the twentieth century could not hold forever.”
#TeamOfTeams “... top-down coordination of siloed efforts works only if those on top actually understand how everything will interact. At GM they no longer did. The products, markets, and supply chains they dealt with had crossed the threshold from complicated to complex.”
#TeamOfTeams “As Mulay put it, ‘Working together always works. It always works. Everybody has to be on the team. They have to be interdependent with one another.’”
#TeamOfTeams I think the book is saying that ‘shared consciousness’ is composed of purpose (‘systemic understanding’) & trust (‘lateral ties between our units’).
#TeamOfTeams “... confirmed my role as a leader, and made me feel important and needed - something most managers yearn for. But it was not long before I began to question my value to the process.” 1/4
#TeamOfTeams “I could ask thoughtful questions, but I had no illusions that my judgement was markedly superior to that of the people with whom I worked. As much as I would like to think otherwise, I only rarely had some groundbreaking insight.” 2/4
#TeamOfTeams “Most of the time I would simply trust the recommendations made by those who came to get me, as they knew most about the issue.” 3/4
#TeamOfTeams “My inclusion was a rubber stamp that slowed the process, and sometimes caused us to miss fleeting opportunities.” 4/4
#TeamOfTeams “Shared consciousness helped us understand and react to the interdependence ... But interdependence was only half of the equation - the other half was speed ...”
#TeamOfTeams “Paradoxically, the seemingly instantaneous communication available up and down the hierarchy had slowed rather than accelerated decision making.” 1/3
#TeamOfTeams “Leaders who could be contacted in moments felt compelled to withhold authority on decisions of significant importance (or for which they might ultimately be held responsible).” 2/3
#TeamOfTeams “Communications may have been instantaneous but decisions never were. The aggregate effects were crippling.” 3/3
#TeamOfTeams “In short, when they can see what’s going on, leaders understandably want to control what’s going on. Empowerment tends to be a tool of last resort.”
#TeamOfTeams “‘Command by Negation,’ a concept unique to naval command and control, allows a subordinate commander the freedom to operate as he or she thinks best, keeping authorities informed of decisions taken, until the senior overrides a decision.” 1/3
#TeamOfTeams “The Navy is the only service that uses the acronym UNODIR (UNless Otherwise DIRected), by which a commanding officer informs the boss of a proposed course of action, and only if the boss overrides it will it not be taken.” 2/3
#TeamOfTeams “The subordinate is informing the boss, not asking permission.” 3/3
#TeamOfTeams “We concluded that we would be better served by accepting the 70 percent solution today, rather than satisfying protocol and getting the 90 percent solution tomorrow (in the military you learn that you will never have time for the 100 percent solution).”
#TeamOfTeams “We had decentralized on the belief that the 70 percent solution today would be better than the 90 percent solution tomorrow. But we found our estimates were backward - we were getting the 90 percent solution today instead of the 70 percent solution tomorrow.”
#TeamOfTeams “An individual who makes a decision becomes more invested in its outcome. Another factor was that ... our leadership simply did not understand what was happening on the ground as thoroughly as the people there.”
#TeamOfTeams “In the old model, subordinates provided information and leaders disseminated commands. We reversed it: we had our leaders provide information so that subordinates, armed with context, understanding, and connectivity, could take initiative and make decisions.”
#TeamOfTeams “... simply taking off constraints is a dangerous move. It should be done only if the recipients of newfound authority have the necessary sense of perspective to act on it wisely.”
#TeamOfTeams “The organization as a rigidly reductionist mechanical beast is an endangered species. The speed and interconnected nature of the new world in which we function have rendered it too stupid and slow to survive the onslaught of predators.”
#TeamOfTeams “We routinely ask government leaders if they knew the smallest details of an issue, and if not, why they didn’t. We expect our leaders to know everything, knowing full well that the limits of technology and the human brain won’t allow it.”
I suspect #Pakistan as a nation is particularly guilty of this especially with @ImranKhanPTI. We need to realize that he is but human, with flaws just like us. What we should stringently require of him and others is truthfulness, transparency, and accountability; not perfection.
#TeamOfTeams “... this information can seduce leaders into thinking that they understand and can predict complex situations - that they can see what will happen.” 1/2
#TeamOfTeams “But the speed and interdependence of our current environment means that what we cannot know has grown even faster than what we can.” 2/2
#TeamOfTeams “The doctrine of empowered execution may at first glance seem to suggest that leaders are no longer needed. ... In fact, due to the leverage leaders can harness through technology and managerial practices like“ 1/2
#TeamOfTeams “shared consciousness and empowered execution, senior leaders are now more important than ever, but the role is very different from that of the traditional heroic decision maker.” 2/2
#TeamOfTeams “The role of the senior leader was no longer that of controlling puppet master, but rather that of an empathetic crafter of culture.”
#TeamOfTeams “Attention studies have shown that most people can thoughfully consider only one thing at a time, and that multitasking dramatically degrades our ability to accomplish tasks requiring cognitive concentration.” 1/2
#TeamOfTeams “Given these limitations, the idea that a ‘heroic leader’ enabled with an uber-network of connectivity can simultaneously control a thousand marionettes on as many stages is unrealistic.” 2/2
#TeamOfTeams “The gardener creates an environment in which the plants can flourish. The work done up front, and vigilant maintenance, allow the plants to grow individually, all at the same time.”
#TeamOfTeams “It wasn’t total autonomy, because the efforts of every part of the team were tightly linked to a common concept for the fight, but it allowed those forces to be enabled with a constant flow of ‘shared consciousness’ from across the force,” 1/2
#TeamOfTeams “and it freed them to execute actions in pursuit of the overall strategy as best they saw fit.” 2/2
#TeamOfTeams “The gardner cannot actually ‘grow’ tomatoes, squash, or beans - she can only foster an environment in which the plants do so.”
#TeamOfTeams “Leading as a gardener meant that I kept the Task Force focused on clearly articulated priorities by explicitly talking about them and by leading by example. It was impossible to separate my words and my actions,” 1/2
#TeamOfTeams “because the force naturally listened to what I said, but measured the importance of my message by observing what I actually did. If the two were incongruent, my words would be seen as meaningless pontifications.” 2/2
#TeamOfTeams The author goes into a lot of strategies on how a leader should conduct themselves. Rather than quoting all of that content I’d rather leave it to the reader of the book to discover it for themselves.
#TeamOfTeams “Creating and leading a truly adaptive organization requires building, leading, and maintaining a culture that is flexible but also durable.”
#TeamOfTeams “But we had learned that “if it’s stupid and it works, it isn’t stupid.””
#TeamOfTeams “We had become not a well-oiled machine, but an adaptable, complex organism, constantly twisting, turning, and learning to overwhelm our protean adversary.”
#TeamOfTeams “Political scientist Brian Danoff explains that Tocqueville saw leaders as “charged with the task of educating democratic citizens, and providing their understanding of freedom with a sense of purpose, a sense of ‘what freedom is for.’””
#TeamOfTeams “Just as empowerment without sharing fails, so does sharing without empowerment.”
#TeamOfTeams “Shared consciousness is a carefully maintained set of centralized forums for bringing people together. Empowered execution is a radically decentralized system for pushing authority out to the edges of the organization.”
#TeamOfTeams “We used shared consciousness to pump information out, empowering people at all levels, and we redefined the role of leadership (“gardeners”).” 1/2
#TeamOfTeams “What we did would not have been possible twenty, ten, maybe even five years prior - so essential to our approach were the information technologies we harnessed - nor would it have been necessary. Today it is.” 2/2
#TeamOfTeams The End. I finished reading the book but it will take longer to think over all the lessons & strategies. It’s a great book. I feel empowered to share my learnings with friends & coworkers, hopefully making a positive impact.
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