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The Military Way: Adapting to Lead Change within Businesses

© by Military Way


The change management cycle is compatible with what Colonel John Boyd called the decision cycle (or the OODA loop) in military parlance. Observe-Orient-Decide and Act. This is the entire range of activities that a business leader must do in order to keep up with the changing business environment.

The OODA Loop

Balance and Fun

This reinforces the leadership role as the conductor of the organizational orchestra.

The Maneuverist Leaders

As in business, war fighting philosophies have a penultimate philosophy called “maneuvre warfare” instead of “attrition warfare”. There is a major difference between these two approaches to warfare: they use “force on force”, whereas the maneuver or mental faculties approach uses force. By generating more OODA cycles, maneuver warfare aims to attack the weaknesses of enemy strength and avoid them. Leaders can outsmart their opponents and paralyse them with OODA cycles. This allows for them to be able to apply OODA cycles repeatedly and continuously, leading to defeat and despair.

The force on force or attrition approach, which is opposed to this, is bloody and exhausting and leads to victory at great cost in terms of men and resources.

We often see business strategies that use a direct “attritionist”, which is often to the detriment or the greater goal of the organization. This can lead to huge business costs.

Smart leaders, on the other hand, use the maneuverist approach to outsmart their competition. They play on their weaknesses while ignoring their strengths. This approach involves intelligence preparation and the creation of ‘Blue Ocean Strategies’ through a systematic approach that generates unambiguous and quicker OODA cycles. This philosophy includes adynamics SWOT analysis and the adoption of six Sigma principles to improve processes, people, and tools.

Systems Approach to Living

The leaders and teams then adopt a “systems approach” for achieving their organizational aims and objectives. This involves identifying the final objectives for each organizational requirement and then systematically approaching the problem be it production, marketing, or training to develop suitable “enabling” or “learning” objectives to determine the best course of action or approach to developing business strategies, training programs, or any other business or life activity.


To succeed and thrive, today’s business leaders must be equipped with the necessary tools for business leadership. These strategies, which have been refined over time, can be applied to any leader in any setting. As important as any war situation, business success is dependent on the ability to clairvoyance and the ability to lead businesses by moving forward or staying one step ahead.