The Cyber War Against Russia: Three Things We Can Learn About High Performing Global Teams
Photo by Ahmed Zayan / Unsplash

The Cyber War Against Russia: Three Things We Can Learn About High Performing Global Teams

There is an updated model to how people work in the world for the biggest impact. We do not know how the war in Ukraine will unfold. Nor do we know what Anonymous will do next. But we do know that a global group of individuals with a shared purpose can make a significant mark on the world stage.

Sophie Krantz

The world recently watched in disbelief and horror as war returned to Europe with the Russian invasion of Ukraine.  In response, the online group Anonymous declared a cyber war against President Vladmir Putin and the Russian government.

Since the war started, the Twitter account for Anonymous (@YourAnonNews), which has close to 8 million followers, claims to have successfully disabled the websites of Russian government and news agencies and leaked data from Roskomnadzor, the federal agency responsible for censoring Russian media.

We are seeing a war for the control of a land border being met by a global community that is not governed or guided by a state or institution.

The Anonymous group is an underground hacker movement.  Their actions are not legal. However, their ability to achieve aligned outcomes with speed and precision highlights  the self-organizing power of a global community that is driven by a shared purpose.  

From this, there are five things about high performing global teams that we can learn:

1. They are driven by a shared purpose

The Russian institutions are affected by hacktivism. Hacktivism is described as ‘a social or political activist act that is carried out by breaking into and wreaking havoc on a secure computer system’, according to Investopedia.

The Anonymous group members are driven by a shared purpose to weaken Russian institutions. As with the Massive Transformative Purpose (MTP) that underpins the impact of exponential organizations, the shared purpose of the hackers provides sufficient direction and guidance for action towards the cause.

Margaret Mead said, “Never depend upon institutions or government to solve any problem. All social movements are founded by, guided by, motivated and seen through the passions of individuals.”

A shared purpose enables the right work to be done by individuals. For high performing global teams, the North Star burns bright and they don’t need to be told what to do. They just figure out what is the right work and get on with it.

2. They leverage technology to work from anywhere

Internet connectivity and communication technologies have been leveraged extensively over the past two years to enable working from home during the pandemic. Right now the corporate world is grappling with return to office policies. This places a focus on managing people to work within defined parameters.

The Anonymous group will very likely never meet and work in the same place.  As hackers, it is naturally not in their best interest to reveal themselves from beneath their Guy Fawkes masks that shield their faces when they release recorded video messages. Beyond that, they are a community from around the world. They do not need to be in the same physical room, even if the logistics of meeting together could happen with little cost and complexity.  

High performing global teams leverage communication and social technologies to collaborate seamlessly across time zones and geographies. People are valued by their work, rather than where they are geographically located or physically seated.

3. They are highly autonomous

In addition to taking down official websites and the reported data leaks, Anonymous has sent 7 million anti-war text messages to Russian mobile phone users telling them ‘the truth about Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.’ This was achieved by an ability for members of the group to move an initiative quickly from idea to implementation.

The exponential organization framework confirms that autonomy elevates levels of resilience, adaptability, and scalability. High performing global teams thrive when given autonomy as teams have the authority and accountability to decide how to achieve their goals, without the need to navigate hierarchy.


There is an updated model to how people work in the world for the biggest impact. We do not know how the war in Ukraine will unfold. Nor do we know what Anonymous will do next. But we do know that a global group of individuals with a shared purpose can make a significant mark on the world stage.

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Sophie Krantz

Sophie is a coach, advisor and author on internationalisation and global strategy. Sophie uses the ExO framework to enable business leaders to succeed and scale globally.