Anticipation, adaptability, communication.
Retired four-star General Stanley McChrystal named these terms at CUNA’s Governmental Affairs Conference Sunday as skills essential to leadership in the military, but credit union leaders in attendance certainly could see their relevance to the credit union industry as well.
McChrystal, the former commander of U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan and the former head of the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), addressed an engaged audience during the conference’s new Sunday general session: the ED (Filene) Talk, presented by CUNA Councils.
The former general first spoke about the pitfalls of predictive hubris, or the problem with thinking something is going to happen just because it happened that way before.
For example, the U.S. Navy Seals who stormed Osama Bin Laden’s compound in 2011 never would have anticipated that one of the helicopters, which carried half of the Seals for the mission, would crash right as the operation began, no matter how many times they had trained for the operation.
McChrystal tied this story into his next point: the importance of being adaptable.
With the rise of information technology, he said, organizations must learn to adapt at a faster pace than ever before, especially as they grow larger.
“Change is happening faster than we can learn,” McChrystal said. “What that has done is created … an adaptability gap.
To illustrate how to begin to narrow that gap, McChrystal introduced his third concept: shared consciousness.
Through shared consciousness, or the act of sharing information, organizations can improve communication and, in turn, improve the efficiency of their operation, he said.
To illustrate this, McChrystal explained that when he took command of JSOC, each department worked independently from one another.
But once the military began working together, or sharing consciousness, “not only did we start doing more operations, but our success rate went up,” he said.