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Get in the Loop to Gain a Competitive Advantage

Planning is certainly important to set your direction. Analysis is necessary, but a lot of people take it too far. At some point, you just have to do it.

United States Air Force Colonel John Boyd developed a concept for the military called OODA Loops. OODA is an acronym for Observe, Orient, Decide, Act.

It’s a useful concept in business as well. Boyd postulated that you gain an advantage if you work through this loop faster than others. This is particularly true in today’s highly competitive, rapidly changing business world.

Start by getting in the loop

Boyd’s four processes are overlapping and interacting. That’s why you gain an advantage by getting in the loop. As you move through it, you constantly receive new information. Feedback that you don’t get if you never act. You’re able to use that feedback to adapt.

And that’s what gives you an advantage – you know things that the “analyzers” haven’t discovered. You can’t know everything before you make a decision, even if you conduct surveys, interviews, focus groups, or any number of other things.

Because they’re all speculative … conjecture … hypothesis. When you take action, you get real facts. Hard evidence. Things you only get by taking action.

Action is what creates the advantage
Nothing happens until you take action. Once you do, you start gaining information that others don’t have. You’re getting real data, while the others are still analyzing the situation.

By taking action, it’s not guaranteed that you will succeed. However, you have the opportunity to learn from your mistakes. That education gives you a competitive advantage over those who aren’t yet in this game. That’s part of the process.

So get in the loop … and do something – even if it’s wrong!

Using OODA Loops in business
Let’s say you’re in business. You spot an underserved market – customers want something that your competitors don’t offer. You start gearing your organization in that direction. You choose a strategy to penetrate that market. Then you do it.

Now while that’s going on, your competition is catching up. But you’re there first, so you’re learning things about the market they don’t know yet. You have new observations which you use to tweak your strategy to maintain your competitive edge.

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Our bigg quote today comes from Arie de Geus, who said,

“The ability to learn faster than your competitors
may be the only sustainable competitive advantage.”

So jump in the loop so you stay in the loop and gain the upper hand.

Next time, we’ll offer four tips that can lead you to a million dollars. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Sources

OODA Loop – Wikipedia

Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War 

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How to Form Better Opinions and Make Better Decisions

On the show, George recalled a college class where one of his professors debated, all by himself, if CEOs were overpaid for an hour-and-twenty minutes. George said, at the end of class, he had no idea where his professor stood on the issue, but he understood executive compensation better than he ever imagined.

There’s a relatively new concept called “integrative thinking”.   It was developed by Roger Martin, Dean of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto and author of the book The Opposable Mind: How Successful Leaders Win Through Integrative Thinking.

A lot of people form an opinion and then look for evidence that they’re right. Scientists do the opposite – they go into an experiment with a hypothesis and try to prove it wrong.

You know you fully understand the subject at hand when you can argue all sides of the issue equally well, like George’s professor did. You could be on the debate team and win the contest no matter which side you argued.

3 possible outcomes

#1 – You may stick with what you originally thought.
Only now it’s not an uninformed, or slightly formed, or narrowly formed, opinion. You can have full confidence in it.

#2 – You may decide that you had it wrong.

Upon investigation, you discover the best alternative is the other side. You’re truly a scientist at decision-making – you disproved your original hypothesis!

#3 – A third alternative
The most likely outcome is some combination of the other two. That’s the point of integrative thinking – finding the best option by building upon two diametrically opposed positions.

A simple example

Picture yourself out to dinner with a friend. Everything has been spectacular. Your server brings over the dessert tray. That internal debate begins – should you have dessert? The debate might go something like this:

Ooh, that looks delicious …. I want it.
Oh, I can’t have dessert tonight.

I really do have a sweet tooth tonight.
Man, that’s going right to my hips.

I haven’t treated myself for a long time.
It’s so bad for me.

I’ve been dieting & exercising, so it’s okay.
I’ll have to work out twice as hard tomorrow if I eat that.

I’m still a little hungry.
I don’t need to spend the money.

Hey, I wonder if my friend would like to split a dessert with me!

There it is … the third alternative! You started out on one side or another – you should have dessert … or … you should skip dessert. By fully thinking through the issue in this admittedly simple example, you arrived at an option that wasn’t considered when you started.

Usually the best decision is one we haven’t previously thought of because it builds upon our prior thoughts. And the result isn’t a compromise, it’s an improvement.

Our bigg quote today comes from Joseph Joubert:

“It is better to debate a question without settling
it than to settle a question without debating it.”

Debate it now so you won’t question your decision later.

Next time, we’ll discuss why anything we can do, you can do better! Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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