John Boyd coined the term “OODA loop” some 25 years ago, but it’s always fun to watch a pundit, particularly a business guru, breathlessly discovering this amazing new strategy.
Here’s the latest one I’ve found, “What a Fighter Pilot Knows About Business: The OODA Loop,” on Forbes.com.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m a firm believer that anyone who writes about the OODA “loop” and credits Boyd (as this article did) is doing good work. Once people start down the path, a few will look deeply enough to make Boyd’s framework a powerful strategic tool.
Having said that, how much trouble would it be for authors such as this one, to Google “John Boyd” and learn a little about what he actually wrote?
For example, the article insists that:
4. Action refers to business process management (BPM). The right actions may require workflow or process orchestration, whether manual or via software, to control the flow of work and to trigger the execution of human (or automated activities) at the right time.
Does this, perhaps, give you a top-down flavor? People are “triggered” and presumably sit around with their thumbs up their you-know-whats in the interim. Boyd, by contrast, is all about creativity and initiative. For example, on chart 74 of Patterns of Conflict, he wrote:
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.
Nobody in an organization run according to Boyd sits around waiting to be “triggered.”
Oh well. As I said, anybody who spells Boyd’s name right is doing good.
[If you’d like to know what Boyd actually wrote about the OODA “loop,” I modestly recommend my paper, “Boyd’s real OODA loop,” available on our Articles page.]