How Agile Are You?

"50% of occupations in corporations today will no longer exist by 2025."  from Fast Forward 2030: The Future of Work and the Workplace In less than 10 years, we're going to see a massive landscape change in companies, organizational structures, and even customer wants and needs. To succeed you need to be flexible, innovate, and be agile.

For example, 10 years ago, Steve Jobs walked out on stage and introduced the iPhone. At that moment, we couldn't even comprehend how smartphones took over our lives. We now have instantaneous access to a multitude of abilities only dreamed of a few years ago. Thousands of companies have sprung up that deliver physical and virtual products for our smartphones — and they're making billions (Instagram, Snapchat, etc.).

And guess what — it's only going to move faster and faster. So we need to come up with another way of anticipating change, observing the landscape, orient where we fit in, make a quick decision, and take action. We don't have time for five-year plans anymore — we need to cull them down to one-year plans and quarterly updates.

I have a solution for you. It's called the OODA Loop. Developed by military strategist and United States Air Force Colonel John Boyd, the OODA Loop was applied to the combat operations process, often at the strategic level in military operations.

The phrase OODA loop refers to the decision cycle of observe, orient, decide, and act — the approach favors agility over raw power in dealing with human opponents in any endeavor.

In fact, decisions occurs in a recurring agile cycle of observe-orient-decide-act (OODA):

  • Observe - What's happening? What's changing? Who's growing? Who's shrinking? OPEN YOUR EYES.
  • Orient - Where are you? What is your position in the marketplace? Where do you need to go? Who do you need to engage? SET A FIRM FOUNDATION, SEE WHERE YOU ARE AND WHERE YOU NEED TO GO.
  • Decide - Once all facts are in - make a quick decision. Don't prevaricate or procrastinate. DECIDE & STICK TO IT.
  • Act - Take action - do what you need to do, see who you need to see, meet who you need to meet, spend what you have to spend. MOVE FORWARD.

If an individual or an organization can process this cycle quickly, observing and reacting to unfolding events more rapidly than the competition — they can "get inside" the competition's longer decision cycle and gain the advantage.

In the next 5-10 years, new jobs will require increased creative abilities, social and emotional intelligence and the ability to leverage AI. Those jobs will be immensely more fulfilling than today’s jobs which are mostly centered on recurring activities with tedious paperwork and red tape.

So if you want to succeed in business — try the OODA method. It works.