SAN ANTONIO, January 14, 2014 – Gen. Stan McChrystal, a retired four-star general and former commander of U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan, gave a rousing keynote address at the closing session of the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 95th Annual Convention. McChrystal highlighted both military and civilian stories of overcoming unexpected challenges.
“When an organization is small it learns very quickly. Over time it continues to learn, but not as fast and it starts to level out,” said McChrystal. “But our society continues to change and the weight of that change has sped up. This leads to a gap that I like to call the adaptability gap.”
McChrystal spoke about the military’s struggle to escape the adaptability gap after various tragic events. This included after Sept. 11, when the U.S. military had to learn to fight an enemy that was culturally difficult to understand, was geographically diverse and operated with a completely different leadership model.
“If you wait to respond to terrorist actions, all you’re going to do is pick up the fallen,” McChrystal lamented. “So we had to prevent terrorist attacks so that we could protect the nation that we work for.”
The military’s ability to adapt to change came from a combination of team work and cooperation. McChrystal’s final message focused on the power of team work.
“The best teams that I’ve ever been in, and I’ve been in a lot, are just people like all of us,” McChrystal said. “They have the same hopes, fears, strengths and weaknesses, but when they come together something magical happens and that’s leadership.”Return to Newsroom