Chris Fussell: How To Restructure For the Information Age
Former US Navy SEAL and President of the McChrystal Group, Chris Fussell, is a practice-what-you-preach kind of guy. Case in point: He has lived through all the trying, uncomfortable culture and organizational change he walked audiences through at a recent CEO event in Washington, DC.
Fussell spoke to the audience of CEOs about the shock to the system the information age delivered to most major organizations—including the military—and why the ones that want to keep up with and outpace foes, be it terrorist organizations or start-up competitors, had better make moves to rework their internal systems now.
Drawing heavily on his white board to talk about breaking past traditional silos, and using anecdotes to emphasize each point, Fussell had the audience glued to their seats. He talked about:
- Why the way most organizations are designed is linear, and how to make a concerted effort to “bend the curve,” or leverage communications capabilities to work faster and smarter
- The aspects of a bureaucratic system that organizations must retain, and those that can be reevaluated and done better
- How to move from a hierarchical or Industrial Age model to a networked, Information Age system
- The opportunities presented by resource constraints, labor shortages, technological changes, and market evolution and how companies can get ahead of these demands
- What changes can be made now, from the most junior level to the C-Suite, to change a company’s culture
Fussell shared stories from how the SEALs and the US military worked to retool their approach to meet changing adversary methodology in the wake of 9/11.
He talked about how organizations can realistically scale a small-team consciousness (like that of the SEALs) throughout a global organization, and why the charge often falls on leaders to great room for the dialogue that’s needed to foster open communication channels.
It was a fascinating conversation about surviving in a new world order and pivoting to get ahead of change that feels shocking.