“Red teaming is both a science and an art. The science of red teaming lies in using these tools and techniques to overcome the limitations of human decision making. As I will discuss…red teaming is rooted in cognitive science and the psychology of decision making. For centuries, we assumed that human being generally made the best decisions possible with the information they had available. But in the past few decades, researchers have found that is simply not the case. They have discovered an uncomfortable truth: Each of us, no matter how smart or well educated, or well intentioned we may be, is unduly influenced by a dizzying array of cognitive biases and logical fallacies that skew our decision making and lead us in unintended directions without us even being aware of it. Red teaming not only makes us aware of these biases and limitations, but also offers us a means of overcoming it.”
-Bryce G. Hoffman
Bryce G. Hoffman – the author of American Icon which examined efforts to avoid the collapse of Ford – has done it again. He has taken a fascinating (and at times complicated) approach to leadership and simplified it so that leaders, visionaries, and corporate executives can adopt strategies for their own ventures.
Colloquially known as Red Teaming, the eponymously titled book focuses on a counterintuitive approach to leadership. Employed successfully by the military, the Catholic Church, and the Israeli government, red teaming involves questioning aspects of a problem that frequently go unquestioned. A central tenet of red teaming is to use creativity and imagination to determine what could go wrong (and right) with a proposed plan and to expose weaknesses, “hidden threats, and missed opportunities.” In sum, it uses contrarian thinking to make an organization consider alternative possibilities.
Hoffman does a wonderful job of breaking down the strategies, mind-set, and tools necessary to make red teaming a reality. The beauty of this approach to leadership and problem solving is that it is an independent effort that can be applied to small businesses and large corporations or classrooms and the military equally well. With strong examples of success stories, philosophical analysis, and models of contrarian thinking, this book is a great read for anyone wishing to better understand their competition, their team, their future growth, and pitfalls to avoid. Red teaming is unique to each individual or organization, so no two approaches will be identical, but Hoffman makes it easy to understand how to make it immediately applicable.