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Stanley McChrystal

Former Commander of U.S. and International Forces in Afghanistan, Author of Best-Sellers "Team of Teams" and "My Share of the Task," and Co-Founder of the McChrystal Group
  • Widely credited with revolutionizing warfare by fusing intelligence and operations
  • Led JSOC, the military’s most secretive branch, from 2003-2008
  • Teaches coveted graduate seminar in leadership at Yale
  • Discusses counterterrorism and geopolitics, leadership, and structural innovation
Topics & Types
Change ManagementNational SecurityLeadershipMiddle EastTeamworkGeopoliticsDecision MakingCrisis ManagementCorporate CultureMilitary LeadersTED Speakers

"To hear McChrystal talk about leadership is like hearing Steve Jobs talk about innovation or Henry Ford talk about productivity. The former general is a warrior and visionary who turned a bulky bureaucracy into a fast-moving force that helped wipe out Al-Qaeda in Iraq and is credited with turning the tide of that war as well as the one in Afghanistan." – Wired Magazine

A one-of-a-kind commander with a remarkable record of achievement, General Stan McChrystal is widely praised for creating a revolution in warfare that fused intelligence and operations. He is also known for developing and implementing the counter-insurgency strategy in Afghanistan and for creating a comprehensive counter-terrorism organization that revolutionized the way military agencies interact and operate.

A four-star general, he is the former commander of US and international forces in Afghanistan and the former leader of Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), which oversees the military’s most sensitive forces. His leadership of JSOC is credited with the 2003 capture of Saddam Hussein and the 2006 location and killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq. He is also the author of the best-selling leadership books, My Share of the Task: A Memoir and Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World. Exclusively represented by Leading Authorities, Inc. speakers bureau, McChrystal, a former Green Beret, is known for his candor, innovative leadership, and going the distance. Called “one of America’s greatest warriors” by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, few can speak about leadership, teamwork, and international affairs with as much insight.

Thirty-Four Years of Service. The son and grandson of US Army officers, McChrystal graduated from West Point in 1976 and trained at the Special Forces School in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He was later commissioned as an infantry officer and spent much of his career commanding special operations and airborne infantry units. During the Persian Gulf War, McChrystal served in a Joint Special Operations Task Force and commanded the 75th Ranger Regiment. He also completed year-long fellowships at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government in 1997 and at the Council on Foreign Relations in 2000. He was promoted to brigadier general in 2001.

In 2002, he was appointed chief of staff of military operations in Afghanistan. Two years later, McChrystal was selected to deliver the nationally televised Pentagon briefings about military operations in Iraq. From 2003–2008, he commanded Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) and was responsible for leading the nation’s deployed military counter-terrorism efforts around the globe, assuming command of all international forces in Afghanistan in June 2009. President Obama’s order for an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan was based on McChrystal’s assessment of the war.

Supporting Military Families and National Service. McChrystal retired from the military in 2010. He now serves on the board of directors for JetBlue Airways, Navistar, and the Yellow Ribbon Fund. McChrystal is the chair of Service Year Alliance, a project of Be The Change and the Aspen Institute, which envisions a future in which a service year is a cultural expectation and common opportunity for every young American. He is also a senior fellow at Yale University’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, where he teaches a popular course on leadership.

General McChrystal co-founded the McChrystal Group in January 2011. Its mission is to deliver innovative leadership solutions to organizations which help them transform and succeed in challenging and dynamic environments. 

Four-Star Strategy Lessons. A dynamic, powerful speaker, McChrystal impresses audiences with field-tested leadership lessons, stressing a uniquely inclusive model that focuses on building teams capable of relentlessly pursuing results. When old systems fall short, he believes true leaders must look for ways to innovate and change. Citing stories from his career, McChrystal reveals a four-star management strategy, concentrating on openness, teamwork, and forward-thinking.

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