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,
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!
(Image by wernerbrau)