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What do the US military and Google have in common?




At many levels, the Army and Google are very different organizations. Founded in 1775, the Army is one of the oldest and most diverse institutions in the country. Its hierarchical structure enables us to successfully carry out a wide range of missions that affect our national security. Google, on the other hand, is a relatively new multinational technology company that plays a role in many aspects of digital life. Google’s flat organizational structure and innovative culture make it one of the most powerful businesses in the world.

So what do these organizations have in common?

Both organizations conducted research to make leaders and teams effective in the pursuit of excellence and improvement. Both came to the same conclusion through separate research initiatives centered around Iraq and Silicon Valley. Trust was an important differentiator that made leaders and teams most effective.

Simply put, trust is the belief that something or someone can trust. Leadership is an interpersonal process, and understanding that leaders inspire and influence others and sometimes achieve goals in dangerous, uncertain, or new environments is effective leadership. Is essential to.

How did the Army and Google come to this conclusion?

Behavioral scientist and former professor at West Point, Colonel Patrick Sweeney (ret) took a team of researchers to Iraq, where he interviewed the military to study the proximal causes of leadership effectiveness. .. At the individual leader level, Sweeney and his team have discovered that trust exists when leaders have the ability, personality, and compassion.

ability. Leaders need to have the knowledge, skills, and abilities to get the job done. They must show these to others on a daily basis and communicate them. Simply put, people do not follow leaders who lack honesty and integrity. It is important to be a genuine value-based leader in interaction. Compassion. Leaders need to be considerate and loyal to the members of the team. This often means sharing difficulties or prioritizing the well-being of others over yourself.

At the organizational level, a detailed study by Google, codenamed Project Aristotle, found that team effectiveness is driven primarily by psychological safety, credibility, and clarity. A deeper analysis of this study and its findings can be found here.

Psychological safety. This allows team members to safely risk and be vulnerable in front of each other. Creativity, innovation and loyalty come from this security. reliability. Teammates are sure to get the job done on time and meet the expectations of the organization. This credibility builds credibility among team members, even in geographically large areas. Clarity. The combination of setting and communicating goals and the organizational structure and processes to meet those expectations increases the effectiveness of the team.

Here are some ways you can use the results of this survey to become a more effective leader.

Get as much knowledge and skills as you can in your domain. Officers receive extensive education and training, but that’s just the beginning. Read the doctrine. Read non-military content. Listen to the podcast. Find new knowledge that fits you and your schedule. Leaders must prioritize expertise and take responsibility for self-development. Ability and a strong desire to learn, coupled with humility, encourage others to trust your leadership beyond your rank. Establish and communicate clear standards and implement them consistently. When leaders communicate and implement standards, they foster an environment of accountability and impartiality. Eliminate people who feel uncertain expectations or poor judgment of leaders. More importantly, it improves the performance of the entire team. Demonstrate genuine leadership and be honest with everything you do. Credibility is not just about yourself. It involves self-awareness and regulation of human behavior at the right time. Being genuine and always practicing moral and ethical behaviour, especially during difficult times, informs others that your values, words and behaviour are consistent and they can rely on you. increase. Show your subordinates that you care about them. This is as easy as spending time with a soldier and witnessing it perfectly when doing so. Here are some other ideas that junior leaders can consider: Spend time with the soldiers in the motor pool, where they learn about their skills, ask noncommissioned officers about their families, and actively follow up on specific details (birthday, family health issues, etc.). We act humbly by encouraging and familiarizing our subordinates when they endure rewarding work and difficulties.

Leadership is about influencing others. And influence revolves around trust. Applying some of these recommendations will strengthen your relationship and make you a more effective leader.


Mark Irwin is a lieutenant colonel in the US Army Reserve. He was a military intelligence officer, a leadership instructor in Westpoint’s Behavioral Sciences and Leadership Division, and a manager of the Anti-Terrorism Bureau and Joint Staff J2. He is currently working at the Junior Officer Center.




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