Qadhaafi tries agility

Straightforward example of agility in the military — simple but effective.  Having adopted their opponents’ tactics, their superior (but still limited) training and cohesion are giving them an edge.

One of Boyd’s favorite sayings was that you don’t have to be perfect, only better than your opponents.

Another was “People, ideas, and hardware … in that order!”  Just a few days ago,   pundits were predicting that with the intervention of coalition airpower, the rebels would quickly resume their westward march and take Tripoli.

They may still do that, but it’s now going to take a focus on the people and ideas part. I wouldn’t be surprised if the coalition has special operations forces on the ground, and the primary mission of such units is to train local forces (not to conduct covert operations themselves, although they are certainly capable of that).  For more information on US Special Forces and their use in assisting insurgencies, see Pat Lang’s blog, Sic Semper Tyrannis, particularly here and here.


Libya crisis: Gaddafi forces adopt rebel tactics

Ras Lanuf has now changed hands for the fourth time in three weeks. BBC world affairs editor John Simpson in Tripoli has been assessing the fighting.

Colonel Gaddafi’s forces have changed their tactics.

New study shows social pain is painful

“The study demonstrates that the same regions of the brain that become active in response to painful sensory experiences are activated during intense experiences of social rejection.”

This is edging close to the Boydian framework. The full title of “Strategic Game,” for example, is Strategic Game of ? and ?, where the question marks are “interaction” and “isolation.”

Perhaps of more importance to business, Boyd puts huge emphasis on maintaining the moral ties that hold groups together.  For example, he suggests that “moral defeat” could be considered as “Triumph of fear, anxiety, and alienation over courage, confidence, and esprit when confronted by menace, uncertainty, and mistrust.” (Patterns 121)

To avoid “moral defeat,” organizations should work on improving their agility and internal harmony, while using such tools as Auftragstaktik to pump up initiative.  The result will be more cohesive, effective groups and a possibly less painful overall experience.

The OODA loop: a new strategic

management approach for family business — Chapter 24 of the Handbook of Research on Strategy Process, edited by Pietro Mazzola and Franz W. Kellermans (Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar, 2010, ISBN 978 1 84844 044 9.  Also available as an e-book from their site.).  Coauthored by Joe Astrachan, me, Gaia Marchisio and George Manners, all of the Cox Family Enterprise Center at Kennesaw State University.  Look for it in an academic library near you.

Deep stuff — very academic — but covers the waterfront of the research (i.e., as distinguished from the speculation) on the process of strategy.  As the co-editors describe it:

While strategy content focuses on the subject of the decision, strategy process focuses on actual decision making and its associated actions.  Strategy process research examines the process underpinning strategy formulation and implementation. … Although aimed primarily at the academic community, many of the contributions speak to a wider audience.

Expensive, but if you’re into this sort of thing, probably indispensable.