That might be Boyd’s philosophy in a nutshell:
A loser is someone is someone — individual or group — who cannot build snowmobiles when facing uncertainty and unpredictable change;
A winner is someone — individual or group — who can build snowmobiles, and employ them in an appropriate fashion, when facing uncertainty and unpredictable change.
Does it seem banal? Insipid? Perhaps, but as in so much else, the key lies in knowing how to do it. With that in mind, look at this story by Ben Cohen in today’s Wall St. J., “Urban Meyer: The Once and Future King of College Football.” (paywall) If you have the print edition, it’s on page B7.
How he rose—and then rose again—has a lot to do with Meyer’s ability as college football’s ultimate imitator. The one thing he does better than any coach is incorporate other ideas into his own. “If there’s something he can get from anyone else to help his teams win, he’s going to do that,” former Texas coach Mack Brown said. …
His colleagues say Meyer’s capacity to absorb information sets him apart from more stubborn coaches. “He’s the most astute listener I’ve ever met,” said Ohio State tight ends coach Tim Hinton.
One of the characteristics of Boyd’s approach is that you don’t have to be perfect for it to work. Just be better than everybody else.
It may seem that this approach emphasizes the observation and orientation aspects of the OODA “loop” more than the decide and act. But in keeping with the notion of the OODA loop as an organic whole, consider that the ideas that Urban Meyer is picking up are just that, ideas. Hypotheses, in other words. Potential parts for his snowmobile. Until he’s tested them on the field and his team can execute them fluidly and intuitively — in other words, subjected them to the learning loop, the “hypothesis” and “test” aspects — he really doesn’t have anything. So it is a complete “loop,” and Meyer appears to be executing it pretty well.
[For all you Buckeye fans out there, this should balance out the post about Oregon that I ran back on Saturday.]