Decisions: Quick or Quality


Former U.S. Air Force Colonel John Boyd was generally considered to be one of the most innovative military strategists of the 20th century. Part of his work included an assessment of over 2,000 years of military history. He distilled his findings into teaching commonly called the Boyd Cycle or “OODA LOOP” (Observation, Orientation, Decision and Action). In seminars Boyd would stress that victors in battles and wars go through the OODA Loop faster than the vanquished.

Many organizations today try to embrace the thought that speed (moving through the OODA Loop) is the best answer to market turbulence. They feel that their competitive advantage is found in how fast they can move.

While speed is important companies must realize that any of the four steps in the OODA Loop can be seriously compromised if they are done too quickly.

Let’s look at decision making as an example. A company can make quick decisions, but many times the quick decision is not the best decision. In my view an organization needs to focus on how they can make quality decisions quickly.

Caroline Wang, in her book Managerial Decision Making Leadership suggests that quality decisions come from GPA IPO framework. She believes that quality decisions are a product of content (GPA) and process (IPO). GPA stands for setting the best goals, priorities and alternatives. IPO brings in process and information, people and objective reasoning. Using these six principles can lead a team to quality and quick decisions. When these principles are part of the decision making process team members can, in advance, gather what they need to be prepared to decide and get into the action stage.

What does your company use to ensure that decisions are quality?


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