The OODA Loop: A Proven Decision-Making Strategy

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Implementing the OODA loop – observe, orient, decide, act – offers practical agility in responding to forces that influence your decision.

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The OODA Loop Overview

OODA – an acronym for Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act. It focuses on filtering available information and data, putting it into context, and making appropriate decisions. At the same time, acknowledging decisions are dynamic and may need adjusting as additional data impacts the situation.

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The OODA Loop – A Proven Decision-Making Strategy

United States Air Force Colonel John Boyd changed the art of war.  During his time as a fighter pilot in the 1950’s, Boyd developed a strategy known as the OODA loop that served him decisively while operating under high pressure and stressful uncertainty.

OODA – an acronym for Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act – focuses on filtering available information and data, putting it into context, and making appropriate decisions; all while acknowledging decisions are dynamic and may need adjusting as additional data impacts the situation.

Boyd’s model, expedient for making critical decisions in the cock pit of a fighter jet, proves equally helpful in any context that requires important decision making. During these times of uncertainly, integrating Boyd’s proven process can help reduce anxiety as you make material decisions both personally and professionally.

Observe

The observation stage calls for actively gathering details about the situation and environment.  Exercise intentional sensitivity to unfolding circumstances, outside forces, information, and data.  Each of these influential factors help develop an environmental framework for implicit guidance and control.

Orient

This next stage within the OODA loop requires deliberate orientation.

Orient yourself by separating relevant from irrelevant fact. Analyze each data point as you simultaneously assess how it impacts your environment.

This stage remains dynamic in relation to your realm of understanding and may need adjusting as the situation changes. The orient stage gives you important perspective of the overall circumstances as well as awareness of the micro-events that shape cause and effect.

The orient stage is often considered to be the most important because it is the stage in which all facts are organized to make formulated assumptions from those facts.  This stage must be executed with focused thought and detail, even when there is not much time to dedicate to the stage.  If observations are not properly oriented, false assumptions can be made, which will lead to ill-informed decisions.

Decide

Based on relevant, intentional orientation, make a decision. As Albert Einstein claimed, “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”

Integrate information, experience, and perspective as you determine the actions you need to take.

Act

Finally, execute your decision. Action tests your decision, gives applicable input, and grants valuable insight as the cycle instinctively begins again with new information.

The OODA loop, an actual loop in purposeful decision making, activates continued assessment and assimilation of relevant data influencing your circumstances.

Implementing the OODA loop – observe, orient, decide, act – offers practical agility in responding to forces that influence your decision making. Additionally it provides an essential, pivotal advantage as you determine solutions to the problems you face.

We hope this QuickCourse will assist you in making the best possible and most advantageous decisions both personally and professionally.

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