Resetting OODA Loops

Uzair Hussain
3 min readJun 30, 2018


Reset a what? Yeah. I learned the term myself last year through weekly walks with a former CEO. The hyper-evolving information that was shared from high level organization decision-making, allowed me to adapt and evolve my personal approach to our Product Growth Strategy.

-Origin — John Boyd “Greatest Military Strategist”

Created “Energy Maneuverability Theory” = Aircraft Kinetic + Potential Energies via Speed, Thrust, Drag, Weight — Allows combat capabilities and aircraft design predictability

-Observe, Orient, Decide, Act

Simple View

Detailed View

Built upon 3 Principles

1. Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorems

Reality= Incomplete, Constantly Evolving. Must be continuously refined/adapted in the face of new observations.

2. Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle

Can not accurately compute velocity and positions of world atoms at any given time. Product of Velocity and Position are greater than mass of particle or body being investigated.

3. 2nd Law of Thermodynamics

Closed mindset uses outdated mental models. Dependence on Closed mindset with outdated mental models creates entropy. Open mindset creates multiple evolving models.


Stay up to date on surroundings. Everything from competitive landscape to team members acting differently. Doesn’t mean new changes are threats, simply need to be on your radar. A Radar is constantly updating.


Take information apart and recreate new updated mental models. New information creates more trajectories.

“Man with Hammer Syndrome” — Only looks for nails.

Examples = Kodak, Blockbuster

Learn multiple doctrines/mental models

One doctrine means you’re outdated. Learn multiple doctrines to gauge controls in diverse social experiments.

Doctrines to Use

Math Logic, Physics, Thermodynamics, Biology, Psychology, Conflict (Game Theory), History, Statistics, Economics, Probability, Common Law, Literature, Philosophy

Destroy and Create Mental Models

Fluency comes with practice. When new problem arises, go through checklists. Are new models driving alternate trajectories. Journaling mental models is good habit.

Always Be Orienting (ABO)

Winners keep building new mental models. Once you achieve ‘fingertip feel’, you’ll be able to skip “DECIDE” step in OODA because you have been through these models enough times to go straight to “ACT”


Since environment is always changing, we are forced to settle for mental models that aren’t perfect, but ‘good enough’. DECIDE is moving forward with hypothesis or educated guesses of which mental models will work. Hypothesis is tested through our ACT.


How we find out if mental models are correct. If they are, we win the battle. If they are not, we start the OODA loop again with new data and mental model. Gather data quickly from A/B test and accelerate winner. If test success drains out, deploy new A/B/C tests then quickly taper out loser mental models.


Rapid OODA looping “resets” your opponents OODA Loop by causing confusion — sends them back to square one.


Do something your enemy doesn’t expect. Give them an “uhhh” moment. Use that to rapidly adapt your OODA loop and build stronger mental model. When you throw off the enemy, they are forced to recalibrate their OODA loop. Could take them seconds. Could take them years.

Build your own cadence for OODA loops. Throw off the competition.


Can be applied to sports, business, militaries, politicians.

Use to observe current affairs. World leaders making decisions then tracing back. They are resetting competitive OODA Loops.

OODA Loop looks simple but is not. Keep practicing to build life as opposed to live life.