Navy SEAL Leadership Secrets That Can Help You Win On The Digital Disruption Battlefield

Shelly Dutton

Digital disruption is inherently unpredictable and risky. Sudden changes in the marketplace, geopolitical environment, technology innovation, and customer behavior can occur at any time. Even internal disruptions – such as reorganizations, evolving management policies, and new leadership – are just as threatening. But more insidious is having a traditional organizational chart that cannot compete against companies owning a fluid, unpredictable structure we’ve never seen before.

During the SAPPHIRE NOW session, “Apply Simple to Complex Lessons from the Battlefield to the Digital Economy,” Chris Fussell, 15-year U.S. Navy SEAL veteran and managing partner and chief growth officer for the McChrystal Group, related his experiences on the battlefield to today’s changing competitive landscape. “We had an organization that was established in the very traditional military bureaucratic fashion. The senior leadership element at the top, highly elite teams beneath it that broke down into small tactical units that were extremely good at what they’re supposed to do. Over the years, this organization became world-class and highly successful, but, at the end of the day, there was a structural difference between ourselves and the organizations we were facing,” he restropected.

While the initial reaction is to discard the organizational chart and start over, you can’t. There’s a lot of things that happen within it – it’s how you pay your employees, recruit them, and train them. But, you still need a part of the organization that works with the same speed and agility of the networks you’re competing against. With the right communication and decision cycle layered over the organizational chart, you have a hybrid model that connects a series of networks that enable teams to become more adaptable in real time.

Watch this replay of the SAPPHIRE NOW session “Apply Simple to Complex Lessons from the Battlefield to the Digital Economy” to learn your organizational chart can help set the stage for effective leadership and efficient operations – no matter if your business is operating in a simple, complicated, complex, or chaotic environment.