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What is OODA Loop?

This week: OODA Loop, which stands for Observe–Orient–Decide–Act.

Decision making is the process of selecting a choice or course of action from a set of alternatives.

OODA Loop is a common-sense approach to decision-making and emphasises staying competitive.

Developed by Col. John Boyd, it was initially used to train solders to make time-sensitive decisions rapidly with imperfect information.

It’s a 4 step approach to help you shift through available info, putting it in context and quickly making the most suitable decision while allowing flexibility for changes as more information becomes available.
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In reality the 4 phases are likely to occur in quick succession:

OBSERVE: Identify the issue and the internal/external environment; data gathering. Recognition of the complexities. All data is a snapshot in time and must be treated as such. Example: I’m hungry

ORIENT: Reflect on the observations and consider options, whilst trying to remove any thinking bias. Example: Do I make or buy lunch? What do I feel like? Where can I get food?

DECIDE: Create an organisation-wide roadmap for a coordinated response, considering all potential outcomes. Example: I’m going for a sandwich from the local café.

ACT: Execute any testing required, and then carry out the decision. Example: I’m eating lunch.

In a VUCA world of ever increasing data, it's the ability to make better & faster decisions that creates a competitive advantage.

OODA Loop can help with reviewing the impact and effectiveness of the decisions made. It's about taking something that is intuitive and making it explicit so that it can be improved.

I took a lot of information from this article, I recommend you read it if you want to learn more.

I originally posted this article here.


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