The OODA loop is a mental model that can help organizations to adapt to changes in our environment. It explains how we observe our surroundings, orient ourselves, make appropriate decisions and act accordingly.
This model is especially useful for leaders who want their organizations to thrive in our interconnected world where unforeseen events appear rapidly on the horizon. Recent events, including the Covid pandemic and riots, have caused devastation in South Africa. These events impacted our organizations and our lives. The future is unpredictable and has more surprises in store for us.
I have closely observed which organizations have been able to adapt to shifts in their environment versus those that have floundered. Those that successfully adapted were able to cycle effectively through their OODA loops.
This article explains the OODA loop and shares tactics that organizations can use to become better at defending against threats and unlocking opportunities that emerge through changes and shifts in our environment.
This article is a long read of approximately one hour for the average reader. I wrote it intermittently over the span of a year and a half during South Africa’s ‘lockdown’ due to the pandemic. The examples I cite will reflect my work in the field of socio-economic development, as well as my interest in history and military science, which is where I came upon the OODA loop. Nevertheless, the insights will also apply to leaders of all organizations.