Posted by: Don Linnen | 31 May 2013

Rinse and Repeat

This really is about “getting it done.” But there are well over 2 billion results for my Google search on those three words. I hate to throw another insignificant stick onto that pile.

Inspired by Seth Godin (again), the OODA loop (it sounds cool), and my own overwhelming list of to do’s at work and at home, this month’s post naturally follows “Leadership Reality” on The Paceline last month. It also may clarify the vague conclusion of that post.

If I just had a 30 hour day or could live on 4 hours of sleep, I could get everything done.  Godin says: “You don’t need more time, you just need to decide.”

The OODA loop is a decision process created during the Korean War by Col. John Boyd, a USAF fighter pilot. OODA stands for observe, orient, decide, and act.

It works well in complicated situations that constantly change – IF you are faster than your opponent in all four areas and can repeat the loop as often as needed. OODA. Rinse and repeat.

OODA worked well in most challenges of any scale for many decades. It’s still effective in some circumstances. I agree with the smart men in the Armed Forces Journal. Today is different. We are blessed with more information and more speed. We are cursed with too much information that comes too fast.

Shifting, ambiguous knowledge leads to decisions that result in unintended consequences. It often feels safer to do nothing.

Stay stuck or apply the Suzy Welch 10-10-10 process if you dare. See my post of nearly four years ago. It’s a terrific way to evaluate choices, but you still may be left with undesired outcomes.

This is where some Christians have an advantage. They do the best with what they know right now. And let go. And pray. Mostly I still try to control things. I’m surrounded by people, like me, who try to do it ALL themselves. It’s not humanly possible. I’m a slow learner, but I’m learning.

When overwhelmed, the only remaining choice (assuming a fetal position and crying for mommy is not a choice) is to call on supernatural power. You may choose the X Men. I choose Jesus. I prefer reality.

To step out in faith is tough. To be a Christian is daunting. But where else can you find a belief system and worldview that embraces the tension between things that never change – God’s love – and things that constantly change? How else can you live in a complex, rapidly changing, ambiguous world?

Decide. Act. Release. Pray.

Rinse and repeat.


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