McChrystal Group is a diverse mix of professionals from the military, intelligence community, academia, and private sector who specialize in transforming stagnant and siloed organizations into cohesive, adaptable “teams of teams.” But our firm’s inception story began with the military’s experiences fighting the global war on terror in Iraq and Afghanistan.

When General Stan McChrystal took command of the Joint Special Operations Task Force in 2003, he quickly assessed that conventional military leadership approaches were failing. Al Qaeda in Iraq was a decentralized network that could move quickly, strike ruthlessly, and seemingly vanish into the local population. The allied forces had a huge advantage in numbers, equipment, and training—but none of that seemed to matter.

To defeat Al Qaeda in Iraq, General McChrystal and his colleagues discarded a century of conventional wisdom and remade the task force, in the midst of a grueling war, into something new: a network that combined transparent communication with decentralized decision- making authority.

The walls between silos were torn down. Leaders looked at the best practices of the smallest units and found ways to extend them to thousands
of people on three continents, using technology to establish a oneness that would have been impossible even a decade or two earlier. The task force became a “team of teams”—faster, flatter, more flexible—and beat back Al Qaeda.

After retiring from the military in 2010, General McChrystal and like-minded colleagues explored how they could capture the lessons they learned in counterterrorism and translate them into the private sector, based on the premise that businesses today are experiencing parallels to what General McChrystal and his colleagues faced in the war theater. The firm grew over the years, adding academic experts and business practitioners, expanding offerings, and taking on new clients in different industries.

From developing products to improving the performance of many clients to writing a bestselling business book, our vision is coming to life.


For more information about how these lessons can help your organization to survive and thrive in today’s rapidly changing world, please contact us or read our New York Times Bestseller Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World.