Sat, Feb 02, 2019

The OODA-Loop

The other day I had a truly delightful (and hilariously funny) conversation with a member of the British special forces. In our conversation, he introduced me to the OODA-Loop as a mechanism the military trains to make better and faster decisions.

OODA stands for Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act.

It’s simple – say you are a fighter pilot and find yourself in a dicey situation: You take in what is happening around you without applying any filters to the situation (observe), then you process the gathered information (orient), make your decision (decide) and turn it into action (act).

We do this all the time – mostly intuitively and without much thought. The trick is to go through this loop consciously and spend time training and practicing the loop to become faster and more accurate at executing it. As once you are faster than your competitor you gain the upper hand.

Initially developed for military use, it is clear that in today’s fast-paced world, the concept has strong merit for founders, managers and decision makers. I see way too often companies either muddling their way through the loop, not clearly separating the stages and thus polluting their decision-making abilities and/or not being able to move swiftly through the decision and act stages.

Become good (and fast) at the OODA-Loop, and you have a substantial advantage.

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