Business Continuity Tip of the Month

In the loop

A previous tip (‘Feel the rhythm’) discussed the concept of ‘battle rhythm’ in crisis or incident management.

When setting your crisis management battle rhythm, you might consider a decision-making technique used in military circles known as the ‘OODA loop’.

OODA stands for Observe, Orient, Decide, Act and is a process for rapidly reviewing and revising strategies to keep pace with an evolving environment.

In outline, the four stages include the following actions :

Observe : Gather as much up-to-date, pertinent information as possible from all relevant sources (see ‘The wheat from the chaff’);

Orient : Analyse the information to gain situational awareness and determine how this accords with your strategic intent;

Decide : Determine how your strategies need to change and develop your associated action plan(s);

Act : Implement the changes.

The key to success, both on the battlefield and in managing a crisis, is to react quicker than the ‘enemy’ (which, in a crisis management context might include your competitors, the media, social media users, protest groups or others looking to take advantage of your situation).

To do this, your OODA loop needs to be tighter (i.e. quicker) than theirs. Which implies that everyone involved in the process needs to fully understand their roles and responsibilities and, ideally, to regularly rehearse them.

Otherwise, there’s a fair chance that you won’t be fully ‘in the loop’.