Thursday, September 26, 2019

Orientation and the sad face

Without orientation, strategy will make little sense.

Consider the scenario where it is vital that you get to a destination.  You’ll need a map.  Orientation of the map will potentially change the meaning, or the perceived meaning, of the directions you’ll move.  The tried and true method of orienting a map is to identify correct orientation of the map, utilizing the “compass rose” or other cardinal direction indicator.

By Abraham Cresques - This image comes from Gallica Digital Library and is available under the digital ID btv1b55002481n, Public Domain,
If you’re using a GPS, that’s all well and good.  GPS has orientation built-in*.  If you’re using verbal directions, the directions are as important as the starting point, but I digress…

Without Orientation, there is no situational awareness and the strategy is specious at best.  Furthermore, motion is not well defined. Directions are difficult (kind of like verbal directions above).

Consider the OODA that Simon Wardley created to describe the two types of why and you’ll immediately discover orientation.  
In the simplest of measures, you conduct yourself around this strategy cycle by gut feeling and often without even knowing about it.  There’s nothing wrong with this, it’s actually how people operate and will continue to until our #AIOverlords take over.

It is far more problematic when the actions affect other people.

What happens in business, possibly more than we care to admit, is the ‘Gut feeling’ becomes the action of purpose.  As described by (edited), the ‘why of movement’ is eliminated from the decision process.

History and life have taught us that this method works individually, but when it’s applied to a group action, the consequences are roughly as successful as reading tea leaves.  This because decisions that are ‘Gut feelings’ are based objectively on purpose.

For anything larger than an individual, this causes disorientation.  Leadership should position the business and the people for movement, expecting some result.  What they end up doing with gut feeling is expressing the purpose and then wonder why the action was not well executed. 

It takes planning, understanding the climate (which includes things like financial, business, technological, etc).  It takes planning, understanding WHAT movement causes WHAT result.  And that "WHAT result" is so very important in determining your effectiveness...

On twitter, I jokingly said that if Simon had drawn this OODA slightly differently, the effect would have exemplified the traumatic result of gut feeling on strategy, as a cute emoticon that would have further exemplified the poor results of the ‘gut feel’ action.  Here’s what I was thinking….

*, brings up the lack of software attributes in simple gps vs integrated navigation software and the execution of α in modern systems. (edited)

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