I learned about the OODA loop while working on a Department of Defense project to secure their supercomputers. OODA was developed by a brilliant fighter pilot and military strategist named John Boyd. This OODA loop is now used by business and sports strategists. As Wikipedia describes:
Boyd hypothesized that all intelligent organisms and organizations undergo a continuous cycle of interaction with their environment. Boyd breaks this cycle down to four interrelated and overlapping processes through which one cycles continuously:
Observation: the collection of data by means of the senses
Orientation: the analysis and synthesis of data to form one’s current mental perspective
Decision: the determination of a course of action based on one’s current mental perspective
Action: the physical playing-out of decisions
Boyd’s OODA has helped me to slow down during fast-paced, intense, and important situations. It helps to reduce reactivity and promote proactive action.
It is a great framework but, I believe it is missing a step which can be helpful to anyone using it. Breathe.
Breathe. Then observe, orient, decide, and act. Breathing calmly puts us in a parasympathetic or relaxed state which allows for the most creative solution to appear.
I think John Boyd would dig the addition of the breathe step. He might even be okay with calling it the BOODA Loop.