Red Team Approach

Pressure test your plan, process, product, or strategy. Prepare your team for the unpredictable.

Pressure test your plan, process, product, or strategy. Prepare your team for the unpredictable.

Organizations are systematically ill-fitted to identify their blind spots, challenge their assumptions, and assess adversarial perspectives. In other words, you can’t grade your own homework. That’s why we red team. From private sector companies to government agencies to non-profit institutions, we help you identify, manage, and mitigate risks to your most important projects.

To red team is to implement a structured process that is semi-independent from an institution and is designed to better understand that institution’s interests, intentions, and capabilities – or those of competitors or clients. And from that analysis, we help you strengthen your plans and increase your odds of success.

About Red Teams

“Red Teams” trace back to early 1960’s wargames and simulations developed at the U.S.-based global policy think tank RAND Corporation and used by the U.S. Department of Defense to evaluate strategic decisions. For decades, these concepts have been honed by the most sophisticated professionals in intelligence, technology, and investing.

McChrystal Group’s proprietary Red Team solutions equip organizations with the tactical, strategic, and environmental tools, methods, and transformations required to compete and flourish in today’s complex business world… and to give you tools your competitors are not using for their decisions.

Common Problems Solved

Red team exercises can be customized to mitigate against risks across industries. Our partners are reflective of both sector and industry diversity. Through workshops, trainings, and red team capacity building, we enable organizations to ‘red team’ themselves.

We have partnered with organizations of all industries and sizes to implement our red team approach to an array of strategic choices. Whether it is a decision, product, plan, policy, or strategy, you can red team it. Here are some examples:

  • Energy Client Facing Large Investment Decision: McChrystal pressure-tested a multi-billion-dollar new venture investments in Asia for a Fortune 100 energy company.
  • Financial Services Strategy Pivot: McChrystal aligned a new financial services firm leadership team around a new strategic direction that mitigated political risk.
  • University COVID-19 Response: McChrystal partnered with University presidents in a large metropolitan U.S. city to de-risk their shared COVID-19 response plan.
  • Acquisition Due Diligence: As a technology company considered a highly consequential acquisition of a publicly-traded competitor, McChrystal’s red team facilitators worked with cross-functional stakeholders to determine whether the company should acquire the target.

Why Red Teams Are Necessary


It was a great opportunity to generate ideas across teams and reporting structures. Everyone approached it with a positive attitude and a willingness to listen, and it surfaced both ongoing and new issues that could block success.

Financial Services Executive

Red Team Client

This whole workshop and exercise allowed us to think long term, short term, in terms of anticipating failure, and really reflect internally with the organization.

Medical Technology

Red Team Client

Fantastic facilitators and overall team. The ease and clarity in which the discussions were documented throughout the workshop were so helpful and impressive.


Red Team Client

This was eye-opening and super helpful. We will do a better job on this acquisition decision based on what we’ve learned, and I’m really excited about McChrystal Group’s red teaming process and applying it to the rest of our decision-making.

Technology Chief Executive Officer

Red Team Client

The red team methodology was new for me and will be useful to apply for other situations at work.

Medical Device

Red Team Client

Train to build your red team capability

McChrystal’s red team training program equips a cohort of high-performers within your organization with the tools and skills needed to lead effective red team exercises. Our customizable training programs includes modules on:

  • Why, when, and how to facilitate red team exercises
  • How to integrate red team processes into the fabric of a team
  • Leading as a red team critical thinker

Red Team Report contains results of the exercises completed, detailed capture of the workshop’s problem-solving stages, key findings, and recommendations.

Our Professional Red Team Facilitators

Christopher FussellPresident

Chris, President of McChrystal Group, is the best-selling co-author of Team of Teams and One Mission. Chris partners with senior executives to implement their red teaming results.

Jim HugginsPartner

Jim is a Partner at McChrystal Group, leading business development, operations, and client success. Additionally, he oversees strategy and leadership development services to Fortune 500 companies and beyond in energy and distribution, healthcare, IT, higher education, government, and other sectors.

Micah ZenkoDirector of Research and Learning

Micah is a red team facilitator at McChrystal Group, where he develops offerings designed to enhance organizational performance.

Jeff EggersSenior Advisor

Jeff Eggers is a Senior Advisor and Partner at McChrystal Group. Jeff advises CEOs on leadership, change, and strategy, and is the lead facilitator for many of the Leadership Institute’s programs. He is co-author of Leaders: Myth and Reality, a 2018 Wall Street Journal best seller.

Cricket OlesSenior Principal and Chief of Staff to the President

Cricket Oles is a Principal at McChrystal Group, where she serves as Chief of Staff for the McChrystal Academy. In this role she supports the Director of the Academy in the execution and operations of the leader development business.

Maureen McCauslandSenior Advisor

Maureen McCausland, DNSc, RN, FAAN is a Senior Advisor where she has the opportunity to work with and advise executives and leaders on leadership and building effective teams.

Maryam ShariatiSenior Principal

Maryam Shariati is a red team facilitator at McChrystal Group, where she is a member of the Academy team.

Ed ReinfurtPartner

Ed is a red team facilitator at McChrystal Group, where he advises senior executives on how to build trust admist uncertainty.

Greg VogleSenior Advisor

Career red teaming expert and Central Intelligence Agency officer, Greg advises senior executives on leadership across complex and inter-dependent networks.

Red team with us.

McChrystal facilitates half-day to multi-day focused red team exercises for clients of all industries and sizes. These exercises can also fit within executive offsites, all hands, strategy tabletop exercises, simulations, team development events, and more.

Get in touch

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