CV Crisis Chronicle: May 5, Are you Stuck in Irons or are you Peering around the Pandemic Bend? Colonel John Boyd's OODA Loop can help.
This is a series of articles from emails that we were sending out to clients and friends as the CV Crisis evolves. Hope it is helpful for others and also provides a historical context as we all reacted and learned about the seriousness of this virus.
The last 7 weeks have been intense, with health and economic fears hitting our midsections like Muhammed Ali punches. The loss of life has been an cruel lottery, everywhere in some places and seemingly nowhere in others. Job loss has been far easier to spot, its on every street corner and apart of every Zoom catch up call with friends.
Job loss doesn't kill you, but it can push some closer to poverty's edge and for others push out a retirement timeline, when those sands of time feel like they are slipping away. Both scenarios cause grief and grief works on humans like rust on metal, it never sleeps.
Three weeks ago we wrote about our new social and economic normal being in place until we get a Vaccine + 6 months and in those three weeks we have seen businesses adapt by severely cutting their spending to extend their cash runway. They are doing this because V+6 is so hard to peg and 24 months while easy to picture is hard to plan for. The image we came up with for this is when a sail boat is pointed directly into the wind, it can not tack and this is called being "Stuck in Irons" as the sails flap about making a ton of noise, while to boat goes nowhere. Is there a lot of noise around your family and business, but you aren't sure if you are going anywhere?
However a couple of things appear to be coming out of this period as well. The brutal truth is getting shared more, customers and vendors and channel partners have lost the ability to bluff and while the truth can hurt, it also can be a great teacher. As a leader of a family and a company you might ask, what did I learn, and what does it mean and the end of each day or week?
Your best customers identified themselves in the last 7 weeks and so did your worst.
Your best vendors identified themselves in the last 7 weeks and so did your worst.
Your best friends identified themselves in the last 7 weeks and so did your worst.
On the customer front, make a map of those best customers, there are others like them and you need to say hello right away and start the process of acquiring them immediately, the good news here is that you have more clarity on why you will be a good fit which should help in the awkward early stages.
On the vendor front, you probably learned how strong their balance sheet was, the more they freaked out, the worse off they probably were. Seek higher ground with better players in this space because you really have to expect more bad news in the future.
With your good friends, even if it is just one, pour into them with your compassion and empathy and allow them to do the same to you. We all need allies now.
Here are some thoughts on How to go from Stuck in Irons to Peering around the Pandemic Bend?
Airforce Colonel John Boyd was a world class fighter pilot and changed how our war planes were built in this country, his biography is worth the listen or read depending on your preference. Colonel Boyd also left behind a decision making frame work that is the standard for our military and might be of use to all when it comes to adapting.
The OODA loop stands for Oberve, Orient, Decide, Act and is born out of air to air combat training that earned Colonel Boyd the nickname (40 Second Boyd) because he would allow his combatant an advantage position on him and within 40 seconds would be in a position to kill them.
Most of us can now relate to feeling like we are in a disadvantaged position and maybe it is time to take a page from Colonel Boyd's book and run the OODA loop to help us Peer around the Pandemic Bend both from a family but also a work stand point.
Observe what is causing your discomfort of pain, measure the size and scope and do not hedge the size or seriousness of its power.
Orient yourself and your assets to the enemy. How can you adapt given what you have currently within reach?
Decide on action to take.
Act on that decision.
Reflect and run the loop again.
Much of the OODA loop training in the military is how to run the loop faster than your enemy, to get inside their OODA loop. Today's climate is perfect for taking that same point of view. Consider running a daily OODA loop for yourself, and family. Run a daily OODA loop for your work team. These simple questions will allow you to get to a brutal truth as quickly as possible which will allow you to adapt.
May appears to be a month where the country will tear itself apart at the seems as the battle for economic safety pits itself against our collective health. Our regional differences will be on display and their will be a few Gollum moments as the pursuit of "our precious" rings will get ugly.
Our aim in May is to work with those self identified best customers, vendors, and friends and improve our OODA loop skills as we push forward through the fog of this pandemic war. Call or email us if you need help.
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