Stan McChrystal on Risk and Leadership

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Stan McChrystal retired as a 4 Star General in the US Army and has since founded the McChrystal Group, written four books and launched a podcast. Stan is one of the world’s foremost scholars and practitioners of leadership and in this conversation we focus on his latest book, Risk: A User’s Guide. As I say in the interview, I think this is Stan’s most straightforward how-to guide on leadership and we dig very deeply into the nuanced and fascinating connection between leadership and uncertainty, including:
* What the history of military tactics can teach us about social progress
* How hard is it to manage Special Forces? Why might it be different than other branches of the military?
* When and why is Stan skeptical of using data to make decisions?
* How does uncertainty reduction help you judge a leader? 
* How do we use morality to help guide us through uncertainty? Who are the best at this in the military?
* What kind of information is toxic to decision making?

Why did I do this show?

I’ve been thinking a lot about the relationship between leadership and risk. Then holy cow I learn that one of the most celebrated military leaders in a generation wrote a book about leadership disguised as a book about risk!? An incredible opportunity for me!

What did I learn?

I learned that the most distinguishing characteristic of Special Forces is (what I call) their moral clarity. An astounding and profound thing.

What was my favorite part?

Definitely Stan’s reaction to how President Bush judges leaders. Deeper than it seems!

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