The way things are is the way things are…
My Amazon author page!!!!

Great email comment yesterday –on Scott’s OODA blog loop. That is actually what she called my last series of blogs. We have argued for years about the state of leadership in many companies. As consultants we have worked with a large number of companies and government agencies. In the end as she reminded me we were arguing about the decision making process ten years ago.

OODA loops for me however represent as much a description of the problem as a way to move out of the problem. People don’t deal well with two things:

  • Someone moving way faster than they do
  • Change that results from moving at all

I am not trying to be mean. Simply that people get so wrapped around what their job and role is they forget that sometimes you can’t do the job in front of you. An OODA loop gives us a place (orientation) where we can modify the current state to evaluate and lay in parameters of the future state into our observations. It is a way we can take what we know and begin to apply it effectively to make good, fast decisions.

We do still however have to worry about the two bullets above. In the Civil War the person way out in front was usually the first person shot. It has been that way in warfare for thousands of years. Sometimes though, the person way out in front ends up surviving and thriving. It’s a balance and you have to be careful. If you are way out in front, make sure everyone else is following you.

Change however is a tough thing to get around. People like their comfort zones. They like their warm soft beds and their fuzzy bunny slippers. So changing anything makes them nervous. After all there is a little of the cow in all of us. (Babe (the movie) the cow peers in to see the pig (babe) in the house acting as a sheep pig. The cow turns to the camera and says “The way things are is the way things are).

It’s tough with an OODA loop to overcome the cow without changing the orientation. There in lies the rub. “We’ve always done it that way” is neither a decision or an action its an orientation. It’s probably the hardest orientation to overcome in any organization or loop.

Remember the Apple TV commercial of 1984? or the book 1984 by George Orwell. What happens when we step out of line?

(more to come as a Linkedin post).


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.