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Crisis Management: Operating Inside Their OODA Loops Chet Richards J. Addams & Partners Atlanta April 4, 2008 U.S. Air Force photo/ Senior Master Sgt.

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Presentation on theme: "Crisis Management: Operating Inside Their OODA Loops Chet Richards J. Addams & Partners Atlanta April 4, 2008 U.S. Air Force photo/ Senior Master Sgt."— Presentation transcript:

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

2 (c) Chet Richards, 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 Association National Defense, February Why we’re here today

3 (c) Chet Richards, 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

4 (c) Chet Richards, Using the OODA “loop” to make better decisions faster

5 (c) Chet Richards, 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.

6 (c) Chet Richards, 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.

7 (c) Chet Richards, 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 Wellesley Despatch June 30, 1800

8 (c) Chet Richards, “Operate inside opponents’ OODA loops” ???

9 (c) Chet Richards, “Operate inside opponents’ OODA loops” 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. permits one to Patterns of Conflict, 132

10 (c) Chet Richards, Why worry about OODA loops? 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. permits one to Patterns of Conflict, 132 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 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

11 (c) Chet Richards, Tom Peters on Boyd Confuse and confound the “enemy” by your speed, per se. While the Champions 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.”

12 So, what is an “OODA loop”????

13 (c) Chet Richards, 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. 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. Observations Action (Test) Cultural Traditions Genetic Heritage New Information Previous Experience Analyses & Synthesis Feed Forward Implicit Guidance & Control Unfolding Interaction With Environment Feedback Feed Forward Decision (Hypothesis) Feed Forward Feedback Outside Information Unfolding Circumstances ObserveOrientDecideAct The OODA “Loop” Sketch

14 (c) Chet Richards, Observe Act Orient Decide Why can’t we use this one?

15 (c) Chet Richards, Observe Act Orient Decide 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) 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) Why can’t we use this one?

16 (c) Chet Richards, Observations Action (Test) Cultural Traditions Genetic Heritage New Information Previous Experience Analyses & Synthesis Feed Forward Implicit Guidance & Control Unfolding Interaction With Environment Feedback Feed Forward Decision (Hypothesis) Feed Forward Feedback Outside Information Unfolding Circumstances ObserveOrientDecideAct So let’s use the real one (It’s actually not that complicated)

17 (c) Chet Richards, The trick is to start with Orientation Feed Forward Observations Orientation Cultural Traditions Genetic Heritage New Information Previous Experiences Analyses/ Synthesis Feed Forward Implicit Guidance & Control Implicit Guidance & Control Action Decision Feed Forward

18 (c) Chet Richards, 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!

19 (c) Chet Richards, 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

20 (c) Chet Richards, 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!

21 (c) Chet Richards, 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.

22 (c) Chet Richards, 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.

23 (c) Chet Richards, Rommel believed that in the subsequent unpredictable fighting, the training of his troops and his own quickness of mind would bring victory. Douglas Fraser Knight’s Cross Rommel believed that in the subsequent unpredictable fighting, the training of his troops and his own quickness of mind would bring victory. Douglas Fraser Knight’s Cross

24 (c) Chet Richards, 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

25 (c) Chet Richards, 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. 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.

26 (c) Chet Richards, Observations Action (Test) Cultural Traditions Genetic Heritage New Information Previous Experience Analyses & Synthesis Feed Forward Implicit Guidance & Control Unfolding Interaction With Environment Feedback Feed Forward Decision (Hypothesis) Feed Forward Feedback Outside Information Unfolding Circumstances ObserveOrientDecideAct Then, what are “decisions”? So actions flow smoothly from orientation Most decisions must be made here – intuitively And communicated implicitly

27 (c) Chet Richards, 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]

28 (c) Chet Richards, “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.” Intuitively

29 (c) Chet Richards, Observations Action (Test) Cultural Traditions Genetic Heritage New Information Previous Experience Analyses & Synthesis Feed Forward Implicit Guidance & Control Unfolding Interaction With Environment Feedback Feed Forward Decision (Hypothesis) Feed Forward Feedback Outside Information Unfolding Circumstances ObserveOrientDecideAct So actions flow smoothly from orientation Most decisions must be made here – intuitively 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 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

30 (c) Chet Richards, 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), 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

31 (c) Chet Richards, 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), 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)

32 (c) Chet Richards, Wrapping up the OODA “loop” Know what to do Orient Observe Feed Forward Implicit Guidance & Control Observations Unfolding Circumstances Outside Information Quickly understand what’s going on Decide Decision (Hypothesis) Feed Forward While learning from the experience Feedback Unfolding Interaction With Environment Act And be able to do it Action (Test) Unfolding Interaction With Environment Feedback Implicit Guidance & Control 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. 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.

33 (c) Chet Richards, 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 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 In summary: The OODA loop is a model for manipulating time.

34 (c) Chet Richards, 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

35 (c) Chet Richards, Military analysts say we [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

36 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 

37 (c) Chet Richards, 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.

38 (c) Chet Richards, 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.

39 (c) Chet Richards, 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.

40 Common Outlook / “Similar Implicit Orientation”

41 (c) Chet Richards, — Boyd, Patterns of Conflict, 74 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.

42 (c) Chet Richards, — Boyd, Patterns of Conflict, 74 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.

43 (c) Chet Richards, 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 “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 Values Doctrine Mission Teamwork

44 (c) Chet Richards, 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.

45 (c) Chet Richards, Values Doctrine Teamwork

46 (c) Chet Richards, Mission Values Doctrine Teamwork

47 (c) Chet Richards, T


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