All businesses need structure. Without structure, goods would go undelivered, buildings uncleaned, and meetings unattended. The implementation of the OODA loop in business helps provide the structure necessary for a business to improve how it accomplishes essential functions.
One of the OODA loop’s key advantages for businesses is that it enables you to learn from your mistakes. To fix your current business plan, it’s important to know when it’s not working. The OODA loop gives businesses a simple, four step method for process improvement. After several cycles through the OODA loop, businesses should run more efficiently and effectively.
What is John Boyd’s OODA loop?
Military strategist John Boyd developed the OODA loop as a tool for strategic decision planning. It is now used by military forces worldwide. With how well militaries use strategic decision planning, it’s not surprising this method is used to aid decision planning in everything from music rehearsals to business operations.
The OODA loop is a structured approach to decision making that cycles through four phases:
- Observe: In this step, you take in data about whatever you’re applying the OODA loop to. This often involves tactics like auditing and market research.
- Orient: In this phase, the information from the observation step is synthesized and processed. One end goal of this step is to minimize unanticipated consequences of decisions to change current processes.
- Decide: The data synthesized during the orientation phase often reveals several possible next steps. During this phase, it’s necessary to determine which of these steps to implement.
- Act: Put the plan from the previous steps into action. If the plan does not work or needs improvement, then it’s time to restart the loop.
When creating the OODA loop, one of John Boyd’s main takeaways was that whoever can iterate the OODA loop fastest will succeed. No doubt John Boyd’s intention was for the people competing to be armies at war, but the same can apply to a business’s competition. While it’s possible for a business to implement the OODA loop manually, software can automate the OODA loop’s implementation. As a result, the OODA loop is both faster and easier to use. This makes the business using an automated OODA loop more likely to succeed as per John Boyd’s logic.
OODA Loop Business Examples
One way to put the OODA loop in place is via the Stratawise platform. Stratawise’s platform is all about enabling a team dependent on a digital process to make it through the OODA loop faster. Stratawise enables OODA’s application to process design by making it easy to revise the workflow, forms, and logic needed for process automation in a low-code or no-code environment. This makes it easy for a process owner and the team using the process to both create the initial digital version of a process and continuously improve that process in near real-time.
To give a real-world example, if your business involves a manufacturing environment, a team using an OODA approach as the basis for continuous process improvement on top of the Stratawise platform will observe that the process as currently implemented is not working well in a specific area. They’ll then re-orient their assumptions by discussing why it is not working. After that, the team will decide that an alternative flow would work better. Finally, they’ll act by updating the flow within minutes via Stratawise.