A fork in the road | BIGG Success

To Be or to Do?

A fork in the road | BIGG Success

This post is a condensed version of a full article entitled Do You Want to Be Somebody or Do Something? in the BIGG Success Entreprenurturing™ Center. Join free to access it immediately.
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Listen to this post! Click play to hear George & Mary-Lynn on The BIGG Success Show Podcast. (Duration 4:00)

John Boyd is “the fighter pilot who changed the art of war.” The two of us know him best for developing OODA loops. It’s is the planning model for today’s entrepreneur in our opinion.

He became a colonel in the Air Force, an instructor, and a man who abhorred incompetence. He often got into arguments with his superiors.

He would have been kicked out of the military except for one thing – he was usually on the right side of the argument.

So in case you’re not familiar with it, we want to share with you his “fork in the road” speech.

It’s one of the single most practical pieces of advice we’ve ever seen or heard.

The fork in the road speech
He would tell his charges: “A day will come when you will face a fork in the road. You will have to make a decision about which way you go.”

Pointing to the left, he continued, “If you go that way, you can be somebody. You will have to make compromises and you will have to turn your back on your friends. But you will be a member of the club, and you will get promoted, and you will get good assignments.”

Putting his left arm down and pointing to the right, he said, “Or you can go that way and you can do something – something for your country and for your Air Force and for yourself.”

He continued, “If you decide you want to do something, you may not get promoted and you may not get good assignments, and you certainly will not be the favorite of your superiors. But you won’t have to compromise yourself. You will be true to your friends and to yourself. And your work will make a difference. To be somebody or to do something. In life there is often a roll call. That’s when you will have to make a decision. To be or to do? Which way will you go?”

Boyd’s right. We all face this choice.

To be
In the pursuit of fame and fortune, many people walk all over anyone and everyone. They will do anything and everything they have to do for glory.

They will behave unethically. They will act selfishly. They may even succeed. They may have money and mansions. They may have fans who adore them.

But status gained in this manner often leads to a certain feeling of emptiness inside. These people often end up divorced, with bad children, and go to jail.

To do
But instead of trying to be somebody, you may find your BIGG opportunity in an organization which shares your values. As a corporate entrepreneur, you can make a difference from the inside out.

Or you may create your own gig. More and more people are doing it – finding ways to make a life, not just a living.

You can become a difference-maker. You can serve your fellow human beings. You can lift them up instead of tearing them down.

When you do this, they will lift you up to BIGG success!

To be or to do – which one do you choose?

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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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OODA Loop – Wikipedia

Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War 

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