The OODA Loop: How Fighter Pilots Make Fast and Accurate Decisions
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Deductive Destruction is a way to orient yourself by paying attention to your own biases and assumptions, and replace them with objective, fundamental thought processes.
One has to pull things apart (dissection and analysis) and then put them back together (synthesis) in new ways so that new ideas and actions are revealed.
After the groundwork has been laid by the previous steps of observing and orienting, one has to decide, creating a decision field to spot any flaws and decoys.
The first conclusion isn’t always right, and we cannot make the same decision frequently.
The first step is to observe the situation in a comprehensive and accurate manner, taking into account the visible information. A fighter pilot, for instance, can observe the following:
Similarly, a doctor meeting a patient for the first time has to observe and gather information, which apart from the visible symptoms, also means verbal cues, body language and diagnostic tests.
The OODA Loop is a four-step method to swiftly make effective decisions in tough and high-stakes situations. It is created by military leaders and war strategists who work in extreme situations and routinely face drastic scenarios.
The OODA Loop stands for:
It is called a loop as it is intended to be repeated until the conflict is taken care of.
“Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.”
Enacting decisions is different from the deciding part. One puts the decisions to test by taking action.
The results indicate the quality of the decision and the OODA loop cycles back into a feedback loop, where successful decisions are repeated and bad ones are improvised.
Orientation is a basic step but is overlooked by many. We have to orient ourselves and recognize any barriers that might be an interference in the OODA loop.
Orientation takes an objective, unbiased look at the world, free from shortcuts and mental models that interfere with our thinking. Paying attention to our own assumptions and biases like old habits, ignoring new information, and even our own cultural traditions is recommended to orient ourselves towards reality.
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Everything in life can teach you a lesson. You just have to be willing to learn.
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