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Make better decisions today. The OODA loop and your #1 move today...

March 25, 2020

 

First of all as I'm writing this let me do a shout out to everyone who's working at home, may be has a wife or husband in a similar situation and also children for company too. I'm sending love and inspiration, resolve and encouragement to do whatever you can to stay calm. It's not easy. My kids of five and two years of age respectively are just the other side of my door at home now, but hang in there...this, too, shall pass!

 

Your #1 Move...

 

Talk! It's really hard (really hard) to think yourself out of a crisis or a difficult situation. Talking with your team members can have a tremendous benefit in keeping alignment going and spirits up. Keep the rhythm (suggest daily) and you'll see the benefits. Now onto the OODA loop but firstly...

 

Chess...

 

Yes I know, but follow me through.

 

Research was done to find the difference between a chess Master and a chess Grand Master. Prevailing theory was that a grand master's key advantage was being able to "see" more moves into the future. What the researchers concluded, however, was not their ability to see further ahead, but to make better decisions in the present. Which Grand Masters did about four times as often as masters. So how do we make better decisions now...

 

The OODA Loop...Making better decisions in the present...

 

If we understand the OODA loop, we can use it to make better decisions (moves), perform better now, and prepare ourselves for the future or "new normal" when we return to more stable times.

 

The man credited with codifying this approach is military strategist and United States Air Force Colonel, John Boyd. Some say one of the best test pilots ever. So here it is...

 

O - Observe

Observe information and the environment without judgement. And there's a lot of information around at present! Some very useful some not so...We must do whatever we can to disengage our bias when we are observing.

 

O - Orient

Orient yourself or your company in the context of the information. Ask what does this mean for us?

 

This, as of 25 March 2020, is probably where we are now with the evolving COVID-19 virus outbreak.

 

This is also the most important phase of the OODA loop: understanding all the implications and possibilities. What are our core competencies we can bring to bear? What are we not doing now that might be a source of advantage?

 

D - Decide

Out of - may be - a few decision candidates, we must now chose the one we feel is the best now.

 

A - Act

Then we must execute the decision. Good practice is always, of course, to test the effects of the action, particularly if it's something new.

 

You can also think of this (OODA) in medical terms when a patient enters a hospital.

 

A doctor will have to (Observe) understand the patient's symptoms, (Orient) make a diagnosis in light of the symptoms, (Decide) specify a treatment procedure (if any), and (Act) put whatever is decided into practice and measure the results.

 

Loop back.

After we have acted we will have new information which we then need to observe and go through the process again.

 

Lastly. Common Sense?

 

When laid out like this it may seem like common sense, but taking each stage individually can lead us to better, more informed decisions and when we can make better decisions more frequently, we can be the Grand Masters of our future.

 

Keep scaling.

Ian

 

More about Scaling Up

More about Ian.

 

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