Making fast and informed decisions

BLUF: Observe, Orient, Decide, Act (OODA)

As an aviator in the military there is a need to constantly scan your flight instruments and make quick corrections to maintain comfortable flight.  These constant corrections lead to a smooth and level flight.  Subconsciously you make decisions all the time, but the OODA loop is an explicit to make decisions quickly and always assess the next step to make another decision.  This is an everlasting cycle.


Every situation that you encounter where you need to make a decision requires you gather as much information as possible.  You will never be able to get 100% of the information you need to make the best decision, so you have to do your best to gain enough incite to make the best decision.


Now that you have a good source of information you need make a plan of action.  You must be willing to look at multiple courses of action that involve a IFTTT plan of attack.  In the military we look at two enemy courses of action (COA) at a minimum; most likely and most dangerous.  Your job, once you have gathered information to build opposing forces course of action, then you can create your own course of action.


Now you have to make a decision.  Choose which course of action best fits the situation.


This is self explanatory.  Don’t waste time with the first three steps if you can execute to effect change.

The beauty of this process is that you can apply it to small decisions or big decisions.  It allows you to quickly assess a situation, plan an action, decide on an action, and execute.  I have always heard that it is better to make an 80% decision quickly, then make a 100% decision late.  Don’t wait until it is too late to change the status quo.  When the status quo changes then you start the cycle again.

Balancing risk and information will lead making great decisions.  My senior pilot kept saying in certain situations – “This decision will either make you a hero or a zero.”  When you think about that with the balance of risk and information, then you are taking a big risk on just enough information for you to succeed, but the risk is so large that if you succeed, then people are amazed at your wizardry, but if you fail, then everyone will tell you how stupid that was.