Why a “Team of Teams” Mindset is the Future of Organizational Psychology


Today’s world is filled with more information than ever before and it’s becoming increasingly more complex.

One might think in our current technological age – and with the growing amount of “big data” – that it might become easier for bosses, politicians, and leaders to predict the behavior of large groups of people.

The logic is that the more data we can collect from people (including even their Twitter feeds, Facebook likes, and Amazon purchases), then the easier it is to understand human behavior and manage it.

However, this is based on a faulty understanding of human behavior. We tend to think that humans are like a machine with “inputs” and “outputs,” so as long as we know the right “inputs” then we can change behavior how we want to.

But the truth is that these “inputs” and “outputs” are more like a series of interconnected feedback loops. Human organization isn’t like a “machine,” it’s like a “living organism” that continuously evolves and feeds off of itself in unpredictable ways.

Therefore, building a successful organization (whether a business, a government, a nonprofit, or even a sports team) isn’t about creating the “right machine,” but creating a “living organism” where all the parts work together organically.

This is one of the major themes in Stanley McChrystal’s new book Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World.

As a general in the U.S. military, McChrystal traditionally viewed human organization as a top-down, “command and control” hierarchy. Leaders gave orders down to their subordinates, and if you send the right orders down the chain-of-command (if you have the “right inputs” going into the “right machine”), then you’ll be successful.

For centuries, this model of human organization had been very effective and common among governments, businesses, and armies. But McChrystal was beginning to find it no longer worked in our current environment.

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Radical Acceptance of Life’s Never-Ending Bullshit

radical acceptance

One of the biggest traps in life is focusing too much on what we have no control over.

Happiness, relationships, health, career, society – we crave control over all of these areas of our lives, yet our powers are limited.

We can’t control our biology. We can’t control society. We can’t control the economy. We can’t control other people, even those we are closest to and care for the most. And many times, we can’t even control our own thoughts, behaviors, and emotions.

This perspective is what the new book F*ck Feelings: One Shrink’s Practical Advice for Solving All of Life’s Impossible Problems is all about. They keyword here in the title is “impossible” – because there are actually a lot of problems in life that are unfixable.

This can be a very sobering and humbling insight. We are so often taught by society that everything that happens to us – good or bad – is what we’ve earned and what we deserve. Thus, we constantly blame ourselves and beat ourselves up when we can’t make a change for the better. Yet that’s not how life works.

What we need to practice is a “radical acceptance” of life’s never-ending bullshit.

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The Power of Nudges: Insights on How to Influence Human Behavior


A “nudge” is any small change in how a choice is presented that can influence human behavior in a measurable and predictable way.

Nudges are a growing interest in psychology. They focus on how we can change people’s behaviors without the use of government mandates or economic incentives. Many organizations, including governments, businesses, schools, and nonprofits, are beginning to harness the power of “nudges” to influence people’s choices toward certain values and goals.

For example, one common illustration of a nudge is a cafeteria placing healthier food at “eye level” and junk foods at harder to see places. This small change in our environment actually influences people to choose healthier foods to eat.

The Last Mile: Creating Social and Economic Value from Behavioral Insights lays the foundation for how individuals and organizations can begin using the power of nudges to influence people’s choices in positive ways.

Nudges can come in many different types. Some are created by businesses to influence consumers, or governments to influence citizens, or a person can even impose a nudge on themselves to change their own behavior.

This article will describe both “mindless nudges” (small changes that can unconsciously influence our choices), as well as “mindful nudges” (small changes that can consciously influence our choices).

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Sports Psychology: 4 Tools Athletes Use to Achieve Peak Performance

sports psychology

To achieve excellence in any sport or athletic competition, it’s important to focus on your mind just as much as your body.

A healthy mind is what drives good practice, preparation, and focus before you enter a game. Ask any successful athlete and they will tell you the importance of their mental approach when it comes to improving their physical skills and performance.

Sports psychology is a fast-growing branch of science that seeks to learn more about how our minds can improve athletic ability and maximize our performance in different sports.

The Champion’s Mind: How Great Athletes Think, Train, and Thrive is an excellent new book by psychologist Jim Afremow that explores the latest research in sports psychology and how it applies to different athletes in a wide variety of sports.

Here are 4 tools influenced by sports psychology that athletes use to achieve peak performance in their game.

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7 Ideas in Psychology That Must Die: Scientific Theories That Are Blocking Progress

ideas in psychology

Over the course of human history our collective knowledge is continuously changing shape and growing. We know more today than we did 100 years ago, and we knew more 100 years ago than we did 1,000 years ago.

From generation to generation, we discover more and more of the truth. This is due to the beauty of language, culture, science, and being able to pass knowledge between each other.

As we discover more of what’s true, we also discover more of what’s not true. Misunderstandings, myths, and lies. Everyone used to believe the Earth was flat and was the center of the universe. Common knowledge changes as we learn new things.

What we thought was “true” yesterday may not be what we find to be “true” tomorrow. This is why we should always be open to questioning our ideas and changing them in the face of new evidence.

In the new book This Idea Must Die, different scientists, philosophers, journalists, and professors share their view of a particular idea or theory that they think needs to be done away with.

While the book covers many subjects including biology, physics, economics, and sociology, in this article I’ll focus on 7 ideas in psychology that need to die.

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