Of frameworks and OODA loops

For some time, I’ve been thinking about the concept of a framework.

What do I mean by that?

We all view the world through different lenses; how we process what we see is the result of the framework that is the sum of our parts.

One part of my internal framework is the OODA loop. I’ve been studying this concept for some time and am working on incorporating it into my analysis of businesses. Here’s a sneak peek of sorts (what follows is a draft in continual update/edit mode):

The OODA Loop
First things first, what is OODA? It stands for Observe, Orient, Decide and Act. It is a conceptual action loop develop by Col. John Boyd, orginally applied to military fighter pilot tactics. The short of it is that Col Boyd believed that whomever could apply the OODA loop fastest won the fight. His ideas revolutionized fighter pilot tactics.

How does this apply to us here, in a business environment? To answer that, let’s talk about complexity economics theory.

This theory states that the business enviroment is an incredibly complex, continually evolving system, itself filled with incredibly complex and continually adapting organizations. As the economic landscape changes, so, too, do the organizations within. This precipitates changes within the system, which triggers adaptive change by the same organizations. This loop is now our operating environment.

How can a business thrive – much less survive – in this environment? By having a framework to view and act through.

Ok, why do we need a framework? The decision making part of our brain does not prioritize (Organized Mind). Rather, when we are faced with information and have to make one of the approximately 5,000 decisions we are presented with daily, we struggle to sort them.

To really operate, to operate effectively, we need a framework, a medium through which to prioritize our decision making. The OODA loop is such a framework.

The OODA Loop as generally conceived

Most view Col Boyd’s OODA loop as a series of concentric circles through which one steps in sequence.

20160731 OODA

That is, someone employing the loop would first Observe, then Orient, then Decide, then Act. While this works as a tactic, I believe it is not a comprehensive strategy.

The OODA Loop expanded into strategy 

Drawing ability aside, this represents my view of Col Boyd’s OODA loop. I think it is meant to be a series of concentric, interlocking loops, in which the same person employing the concept does so in a 360 degree environment, constantly observing, orienting, deciding and acting. These also need not be sequential. It may be that new data is observed during the decision phase which requires additional observation or orientation.

20160731 OODA 2
That’s a great graphic, Rob, but what does this mean to my business?

Good question! Here’s a real word example. I am also a licensed Realtor® who spends a lot of time producing educational content, via my blogs at thehousingnetwork and robthompsonrealtor. As I generate content, I came to realize I was talking about inspection objections and resolutions, a phase a couple of weeks into a transaction, but I wasn’t discussing earnest money on a regular basis.

You could say as it applied to a communications strategy, my OODA loop looked like this:

20160803 OODA 3

That is, I was stepping through a series of conversations about these topics.

What was I missing here? 

On any given day, I was communicating with only one set of potential clients.

What should I have been doing? 

As a communications strategy, my OODA loop should have looked more like this:

20160803 OODA 4

Under this model, instead of a series of communications, the intent is to have related, parallel content/conversations, wherein we are addressing the needs and concerns of both novice and experienced clients.

Interested? Please let me know and stay tuned as I develop this article and concept further.

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