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Crisis Management: Operating Inside Their OODA Loops. U.S. Air Force photo/ Senior Master Sgt. Mahmoud Rasouliyan. Chet Richards J. Addams & Partners Atlanta April 4, 2008. Adapted from a presentation to the First Adaptive Leadership Symposium, Greenville Technical Institute March 19, 2008.

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Crisis Management: Operating Inside Their OODA Loops

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Crisis management operating inside their ooda loops l.jpg

Crisis Management: Operating Inside Their OODA Loops

U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Master Sgt. Mahmoud Rasouliyan

Chet RichardsJ. Addams & PartnersAtlanta

April 4, 2008

Adapted from a presentation to the First Adaptive Leadership Symposium,Greenville Technical Institute

March 19, 2008


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Why we’re here today

Many [homeland security] drills now are command-post type exercises in which participation and decisions are downward-directed, the opposite of how the event will unfold in the real world. The secret to military efficiency has always been solid planning, training and exercising. It has great merit for adoption by others.

“U.S. Has Strategy for Homeland Security, But Are We Ready?”By Lawrence P. Farrell Jr.,President, National Defense Industrial AssociationNational Defense, February 2008.

(c) Chet Richards, 2008


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According to Boyd, a fighter pilot didn’t win by faster reflexes; he won because his reflexes were connected to a brain that thought faster than the opponent.

— Bing West and Ray Smith,The March Up, p. 11

(c) Chet Richards, 2008


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Using the OODA “loop”to make better decisions faster

(c) Chet Richards, 2008


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Leadership (a la Boyd)

  • Appreciation refers to the recognition of worth or value, clear perception, understanding, comprehension, discernment, etc.

  • Leadership implies the art of inspiring people to enthusiastically take action toward the achievement of uncommon goals.

(c) Chet Richards, 2008


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Appreciation and leadership [Organic Design, Chart 34]

Nature

Appreciation and leadership permit one to discern, direct and shape what is to be done as well as permit one to modify the direction and shaping by assessing what is being done or about to be done (by friendlies as well as adversaries).

What does this mean?

Appreciation, as part of leadership, must provide assessment of what is being done in a clear unambiguous way. In this sense, appreciation must not interact nor interfere with the system but must discern (not shape) the character/nature of what is being done or about to be done;

whereas

Leadership must give direction in terms of what is to be done also in a clear unambiguous way. In this sense, leadership must interact with the system to shape the character or nature of that system in order to realize what is to be done.

Implication

Assessment and discernment should be invisible and should not interfere with operations while direction and shaping should be evident to system—otherwise appreciation and leadership do not exist as an effective means to improve our fitness to shape and cope with unfolding circumstances.

(c) Chet Richards, 2008


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Why are appreciation and leadership important?

The simple answer is that they permit people to:

  • Operate inside opponents’ OODA loops

  • Create organizations that can operate inside opponents’ OODA loops

  • Evolve organizations that become continually better at operating inside opponents’ OODA loops

In military operations, time is everything.

Colonel Arthur WellesleyDespatchJune 30, 1800

(c) Chet Richards, 2008


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“Operate inside opponents’ OODA loops” ???

(c) Chet Richards, 2008


Operate inside opponents ooda loops l.jpg

Transients

Observe, orient, decide and act more inconspicuously, more quickly, and with more irregularity

or put another way

Operate inside adversary’s observation-orientation-decision action loops or get inside his mind-time-space.

Intentions

Probe and test adversary to unmask strengths, weaknesses, maneuvers, and intentions.

Employ a variety of measures that interweave menace-uncertainty-mistrust with tangles of ambiguity-deception-novelty as basis to sever adversary’s moral ties and disorient …

Select initiative (or response) that is least expected.

Establish focus of main effort together with other effort and pursue directions that permit many happenings, offer many branches, and threaten alternative objectives.

Move along paths of least resistance (to reinforce and exploit success).

Generate uncertainty, confusion, disorder, panic, chaos … to shatter cohesion, produce paralysis and bring about collapse.

Become an extraordinary commander.

“Operate inside opponents’ OODA loops”

permits one to

(c) Chet Richards, 2008

Patterns of Conflict, 132


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Transients

Observe, orient, decide and act more inconspicuously, more quickly, and with more irregularity

or put another way

Operate inside adversary’s observation-orientation-decision action loops or get inside his mind-time-space.

Intentions

Probe and test adversary to unmask strengths, weaknesses, maneuvers, and intentions.

Employ a variety of measures that interweave menace-uncertainty-mistrust with tangles of ambiguity-deception-novelty as basis to sever adversary’s moral ties and disorient …

Select initiative (or response) that is least expected.

Establish focus of main effort together with other effort and pursue directions that permit many happenings, offer many branches, and threaten alternative objectives.

Move along paths of least resistance (to reinforce and exploit success).

Generate uncertainty, confusion, disorder, panic, chaos … to shatter cohesion, produce paralysis and bring about collapse.

Become an extraordinary commander.

Why worry about OODA loops?

permits one to

  • Change the situation before:

  • Customers get bored

  • Competitors think of something more attractive

  • Opponents figure out what’s going on

  • The “situation” changes itself in ways you may not like

(c) Chet Richards, 2008

Patterns of Conflict, 132


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Tom Peters on Boyd

Confuse and confound the “enemy”by your speed, per se. While theChampions of Inertia are busy scheduling the next “planning review,” you swiftly get the job done … and go public with it. (Re-imagine! P. 219)

The OODA loop is “the real nub of competitiveness.”

(c) Chet Richards, 2008


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So, what is an “OODA loop”????


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CulturalTraditions

GeneticHeritage

Decision(Hypothesis)

Analyses &Synthesis

FeedForward

FeedForward

NewInformation

PreviousExperience

Feedback

The OODA “Loop” Sketch

Observe

Orient

Decide

Act

ImplicitGuidance& Control

ImplicitGuidance& Control

UnfoldingCircumstances

Observations

Action(Test)

FeedForward

OutsideInformation

UnfoldingInteractionWithEnvironment

UnfoldingInteractionWithEnvironment

Feedback

Note how orientation shapes observation, shapes decision, shapes action, and in turn is shaped by the feedback and other phenomena coming into our sensing or observing window.

Also note how the entire “loop” (not just orientation) is an ongoing many-sided implicit cross-referencing process of projection, empathy, correlation, and rejection.

(c) Chet Richards, 2008


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Why can’t we use this one?

Orient

Observe

Decide

Act

(c) Chet Richards, 2008


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Why can’t we use this one?

Orient

  • It doesn’t work very well in crises:

    • Sequential

    • Slow

    • Easy to disrupt

    • Quality and quickness trade off

    • Sometimes good for engineering-type applications (no human competition)

Decide

Observe

Act

(c) Chet Richards, 2008


So let s use the real one it s actually not that complicated l.jpg

CulturalTraditions

GeneticHeritage

Decision(Hypothesis)

Analyses &Synthesis

FeedForward

FeedForward

NewInformation

PreviousExperience

Feedback

So let’s use the real one(It’s actually not that complicated)

Observe

Orient

Decide

Act

ImplicitGuidance& Control

ImplicitGuidance& Control

UnfoldingCircumstances

Observations

Action(Test)

FeedForward

OutsideInformation

UnfoldingInteractionWithEnvironment

UnfoldingInteractionWithEnvironment

Feedback

(c) Chet Richards, 2008


The trick is to start with orientation l.jpg

Orientation

Implicit

Guidance &

Control

Implicit

Guidance &

Control

Cultural

Traditions

Genetic

Heritage

Action

Decision

Feed

Forward

Feed

Forward

Feed

Forward

Observations

Analyses/

Synthesis

New

Information

Previous

Experiences

The trick is to start with Orientation

(c) Chet Richards, 2008


Orientation l.jpg

Orientation

  • On-going process, not a picture

  • Building snowmobiles – new concepts and ideas – using analyses and synthesis

  • By taking what we’ve learned and what’s going on now

  • And coming up with new strategies, plans, and actions that match up better with reality

  • In a conflict environment – where somebody else is trying to do this to you!

(c) Chet Richards, 2008


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Key points

  • The side whose orientation best matches up with reality will find opportunities to:

    • Operate inside customers’ and competitors’ OODA loops

    • Seize the initiative

    • Pump up own morale and hurt opponents’

    • Think up, test, and exploit (or drop) ideas for new products, services, tactics, and other responses while they are still likely to be effective

  • In other words: Understand a fast-developing world while there’s still time to do something about it

(c) Chet Richards, 2008


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Implication

  • We need to create mental images, views, or impressions, hence patterns that match with activity of world. [Organic Design, chart 16]

    • In business, this means that our orientation needs to stay better matched to reality than competitors’ and customers’

    • Which means that often we have a good idea of what customers want before they do

    • In crisis management and armed conflict, the meaning is pretty obvious!

(c) Chet Richards, 2008


Implication21 l.jpg

Implication

  • We need to create mental images, views, or impressions, hence patterns that match with activity of world. [Organic Design, chart 16]

    • In business, this means that our orientation needs to stay better matched to reality than competitors’ and customers’

    • Which means that often we have a good idea of what customers want before they do

    • In crisis management and armed conflict, the meaning is pretty obvious!

In Boyd’s universe, conflict is a competition between novelty-generating systems, or equivalently, learning systems.

(c) Chet Richards, 2008


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What about “action”?

  • The idea is that the vast majority of the time, actions should flow smoothly from orientation via the “implicit guidance and control” link.

  • This is the purpose behind the years of training that elite military units and martial artists undergo – building something the Germans called Fingerspitzengefühl.

(c) Chet Richards, 2008


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Rommel believed that in the subsequent unpredictable fighting, the training of his troops and his own quickness of mind would bring victory.

Douglas FraserKnight’s Cross

(c) Chet Richards, 2008


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A little about Observation

  • It is an active process:

    • Probe and test adversary to unmask strengths, weaknesses, maneuvers, and intentions (POC 132)

  • Nothing is more important:

    • Without clear observation, you won’t be able to spot mismatches before customers and competitors do

    • And correct your orientation

    • And take action to exploit the new situation

    • While there’s still time to do something meaningful

(c) Chet Richards, 2008


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When your objective perception is clear, you don’t miss one out of ten thousand.

Zen Master Shoju Rojin,quoted in Thomas Cleary,The Japanese Art of War, p. 36.

(c) Chet Richards, 2008


Then what are decisions l.jpg

So actions flow smoothly from orientation

Most decisions must be made here – intuitively

Observe

Orient

Decide

Act

ImplicitGuidance& Control

ImplicitGuidance& Control

UnfoldingCircumstances

CulturalTraditions

Observations

GeneticHeritage

Decision(Hypothesis)

Analyses &Synthesis

Action(Test)

FeedForward

FeedForward

FeedForward

NewInformation

PreviousExperience

OutsideInformation

UnfoldingInteractionWithEnvironment

UnfoldingInteractionWithEnvironment

Feedback

Feedback

And communicated implicitly

Then, what are “decisions”?

(c) Chet Richards, 2008


Slide27 l.jpg

The key idea is to emphasize implicit over explicit in order to gain a favorable mismatch in friction and time (i.e, ours lower than any adversary) for superiority in shaping and adapting to circumstances. [Organic Design, 22]

(c) Chet Richards, 2008


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Intuitively

“Do not forget that actual combat is extremely fast and demands that you act and react without thinking. ‘Moving with the enemy’ means not permitting him to gather his thoughts when in retreat.

“Either you will lead the enemy …

Or he will lead you.”

(c) Chet Richards, 2008


Then what are decisions29 l.jpg

So actions flow smoothly from orientation

Most decisions must be made here – intuitively

Observe

Orient

Decide

Act

ImplicitGuidance& Control

ImplicitGuidance& Control

UnfoldingCircumstances

CulturalTraditions

Observations

GeneticHeritage

Decision(Hypothesis)

Analyses &Synthesis

Action(Test)

FeedForward

FeedForward

FeedForward

NewInformation

PreviousExperience

OutsideInformation

UnfoldingInteractionWithEnvironment

UnfoldingInteractionWithEnvironment

Feedback

Feedback

And communicated implicitly

Then, what are “decisions”?

  • Explicit (stated) decisions are needed if:

    • You don’t have the mutual trust/common outlook for implicit decisions

    • You can’t use implicit decisions (e.g., nuclear weapons)

    • You’re trying things (experiments) - note Boyd’s alternative labels - or in training

(c) Chet Richards, 2008


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A hint to future leaders

Research shows that when dealing with a new, complex, and confusing situation, good leaders (and effective teams):

  • begin by carrying out lots of small experiments(decisions / actions) at a high tempo (see Dörner, 1996),

Explicit part of the loop - through the Decision/Hypothesis and Act/Test boxes

(c) Chet Richards, 2008


A hint to future leaders31 l.jpg

A hint to future leaders

Research shows that when dealing with a new, complex, and confusing situation, good leaders (and effective teams):

  • begin by carrying out lots of small experiments(decisions / actions) at a high tempo (see Dörner, 1996),

Explicit part of the loop - through the Decision/Hypothesis and Act/Test boxes

The Prius is … the result of a development system that tries out many approaches to every problem, then gets the winning concept to the customer very quickly with low engineering cost, low manufacturing cost, and near perfect quality. (Jim Womack, WSJ 2/13/2006)

(c) Chet Richards, 2008


Wrapping up the ooda loop l.jpg

Quickly understand what’s going on

Know what to do

And be able to do it

Decide

Observe

Orient

Act

ImplicitGuidance& Control

ImplicitGuidance& Control

UnfoldingCircumstances

Observations

Decision(Hypothesis)

Action(Test)

FeedForward

FeedForward

FeedForward

OutsideInformation

UnfoldingInteractionWithEnvironment

UnfoldingInteractionWithEnvironment

Feedback

Feedback

While learning from the experience

Wrapping up the OODA “loop”

  • Key Points:

  • When you’re doing OODA “loops” right,accuracy and speed improve together; they don’t trade off.

  • The main function of leadership is to build an organization that gets better and better at these things.

(c) Chet Richards, 2008


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In summary: The OODA loop is a model for manipulating time.

  • With a time advantage you can:

    • Try more things

    • Recover from mistakes and learn more quickly

    • Make opponents react to you

    • Shape the situation

    • Improve quality and cost, simultaneously

    • Make size irrelevant

(c) Chet Richards, 2008


Slide34 l.jpg

A time-compressed company does the same thing as a pilot in an OODA loop … It’s the competitor who acts on information faster who is in the best position to win.

— George Stalk & Tom Hout,Competing Against Time,pp. 180-181.

(c) Chet Richards, 2008


Slide35 l.jpg

Military analysts saywe [US Navy SEALs]are becoming skilled disciples of John Boyd. That is, we execute the Boyd Loop—observation, orientation, decision, action (OODA)—far better and far quicker than our enemies.

— Dick Couch,The Finishing School, p. 258

(c) Chet Richards, 2008


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What type of organizations operate at rapid OODA loop tempos?

The answer is: Organizations whose leaders have, over time, imbued certain qualities into the fiber of their very being.

Here are four of these qualities 


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A climate for growing and focusing creativity and initiative

  • Fingerspitzengefühl - Superb competence, leading to a Zen-like state of intuitive understanding. Ability to sense when the time is ripe for action. Built through years of progressively more challenging experience. Magic.

  • Einheit - Has the connotation of "mutual trust" and implies a common outlook towards business problems. Built through shared experience. Fingerspitzengefühl at the organizational level.

(c) Chet Richards, 2008


A climate for growing and focusing creativity and initiative38 l.jpg

A climate for growing and focusing creativity and initiative

  • Schwerpunkt - Any concept that gives focus and direction to our efforts. In ambiguous situations, answers the question, "What do I do next?” Key function of leadership.

  • Auftragstaktik – Convey to team members what needs to be accomplished, get their agreement to accomplish it, then hold them strictly accountable for doing it - but don't prescribe how. Requires very strong common outlook.

(c) Chet Richards, 2008


Slide39 l.jpg

Before ending this presentation, I’d like to highlight one last aspect of Boyd’s organizational climate, a different way of looking at Einheit – oneness/cohesion.

(c) Chet Richards, 2008


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Common Outlook / “Similar Implicit Orientation”


The common outlook l.jpg

The “common outlook”

Message

  • According to General Gunther Blumentritt, such a scheme presupposes a common outlook based upon “a body of professional officers who have received exactly the same training during the long years of peace and with the same tactical education, the same way of thinking, identical speech, hence a body of officers to whom all tactical conceptions were fully clear.”

  • Furthermore, a la General Blumentritt, it presupposes “an officers training institution which allows the subordinate a very great measure of freedom of action and freedom in the manner of executing orders and which primarily calls for independent daring, initiative and sense of responsibility.”

    Point

  • Without a common outlook superiors cannot give subordinates freedom-of-action and maintain coherency of ongoing action.

    Implication

  • A common outlook possessed by “a body of officers” represents a unifying theme that can be used to simultaneously encourage subordinate initiative yet realize superior intent.

— Boyd, Patterns of Conflict, 74

(c) Chet Richards, 2008


The common outlook42 l.jpg

The “common outlook”

Message

  • According to General Gunther Blumentritt, such a scheme presupposes a common outlook based upon “a body of professional officers who have received exactly the same training during the long years of peace and with the same tactical education, the same way of thinking, identical speech, hence a body of officers to whom all tactical conceptions were fully clear.”

  • Furthermore, a la General Blumentritt, it presupposes “an officers training institution which allows the subordinate a very great measure of freedom of action and freedom in the manner of executing orders and which primarily calls for independent daring, initiative and sense of responsibility.”

    Point

  • Without a common outlook superiors cannot give subordinates freedom-of-action and maintain coherency of ongoing action.

    Implication

  • A common outlook possessed by “a body of officers” represents a unifying theme that can be used to simultaneously encourage subordinate initiative yet realize superior intent.

— Boyd, Patterns of Conflict, 74

(c) Chet Richards, 2008


Einheit common outlook l.jpg

Einheit: Common Outlook

  • Composed of four main elements:

    • Shared code of moral and ethical behavior

    • Agreed framework for how things are done

    • Base of experience working together

    • Common appreciation of leadership’s overall goals (“commander’s intent” / Schwerpunkt) and progress towards reaching those goals

Values

Doctrine

Teamwork

Mission

“But at the core of the Linux and Toyota communities are rules about three entirely different things: how individuals and small groups work together; how and how widely, they communicate; and how leaders guide them toward a common goal.”

— Philip Evans and Bob Wolf, Collaboration Rules,Harvard Business Review, July-August 2005., 3

(c) Chet Richards, 2008


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What you do with Einheit [Organic Design, Chart 23]

  • Suppress tendency to build‑up explicit internal arrangements that hinder interaction with external world.

    Instead

  • Arrange setting and circumstances so that leaders and subordinates alike are given opportunity to continuously interact with external world, and with each other, in order to more quickly make many‑sided implicit cross‑referencing projections, empathies, correlations, and rejections as well as create the similar images or impressions, hence a similar implicit orientation, needed to form an organic whole.

    Why?

  • A similar implicit orientation for commanders and subordinates alike will allow them to:

    • Diminish their friction and reduce time, thereby permit them to:

    • Exploit variety/rapidity while maintaining harmony/initiative, thereby permit them to:

    • Get inside adversary’s O‑O‑D‑A loops, thereby:

    • Magnify adversary’s friction and stretch‑out his time (for a favorable mismatch in friction and time), thereby:

    • Deny adversary the opportunity to cope with events/efforts as they unfold.

(c) Chet Richards, 2008


Slide45 l.jpg

Doctrine

Teamwork

Values

(c) Chet Richards, 2008


Slide46 l.jpg

Doctrine

Teamwork

Mission

Values

(c) Chet Richards, 2008


Slide47 l.jpg

T

www.jaddams.com

(c) Chet Richards, 2008


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