[January 21, 2014] Senior leaders improve leadership and effectiveness in their organizations in a variety of ways. One of the most useful techniques is to draw upon the expertise of “red teams” to discover and recommend improvements.
A “red team” is usually a small, independent group with the mission to directly target the failures and inefficiencies of a particular organization. They also provide insight into the specifics of how to improve the organization. Their value stems from their abilities to create assessments that are quick and more realistic.
Use of “red teams” is not a new phenomenon but the use of them in new areas like cyber security is increasing rapidly. Use by the military and the CIA of these teams is common, use by other civilian government agencies is rare.
These teams must have the support of the senior leadership of the organization to be truly effective in exposing the deficiencies of an organization. Use of “red teams” can be used at any level, however.
Leaders who have an interest in exposing problems and solutions quickly, should consider this technique. Be aware however, that personnel working in areas having problems will often not be pleased. This is why senior leadership support is necessary.
An effective method of improving leadership means a “red team” that can think outside the norm in order to interrupt the tactics and procedures used by leaders. The lessons learned from these are valuable.
I have used them in combat and peacetime environments and found them especially helpful.