Fresh Thoughts #49: How Do You Respond? OODA

father helping son observe

I remember the first time I thought my computer was being hacked.

Pulse racing.

Adrenaline is kicking in.

Clear, calm thinking - not so much.

It's perfectly natural to respond to pressure and adverse events like this. But it isn't practical.

Sorting out a problem, particularly a technical one in a hurry, requires clear thinking.

So how did I learn from this and enable clear thinking in times of pressure?

Two ways: practice and use the OODA loop.

Practice is all about time served - so there is no shortcut. Sorry.

But the OODA loop - a continuous cycle of observe-orientate-decide-act - is something you can use today.

I first heard about OODA loops from Simon Wardley over 10 years ago. It made perfect sense then, and I still use it today.

The strength of OODA lies in its simplicity and continuous cycle:

  • Observe: What do I know or can see?
  • Orientate: What can I do about it? What options are available?
  • Decide: What am I going to do about it?
  • Act: Do it.

I've used it in many situations, and it has consistently withstood diverse challenges.

As a thought experiment: How would you handle a crucial part of your business that went up in literal or metaphorical flames?

Observing. Orientating. Deciding. Acting... will help.

PS: I wasn't hacked... it was just one of my extremely poorly written apps that I had forgotten about. 🤦

January 17, 2023
1 Minutes Read

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