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U.S. Air Force photo

Operational planning teams, OPTs for short, help solve some of the most complex problems that surface during warfare. These teams provide the avenue for combatant commands and joint task forces to develop key contingency plans, through deliberate or crisis-action planning. Like any other team, OPTs require the cooperation and teamwork of their members, a goal that’s often easier said than done. To understand how to keep an OPT running smoothly, it’s helpful to step outside the context of the military, and to think of these teams like football squads. Doing so — and borrowing from the enlightening article Teamwork Behaviors: A Review and Integration of Frameworks — is useful way to overcome the pitfalls that can bedevil field grade officers hoping to navigate the complex world of OPTs, and to avoid the “penalties” that can set any team back.

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