Today's newsletter from @TaylorPearsonMe is excellent. It's about The Farthest Down the Chain Principle.

I haven't heard it called this before, but I do know about the principles under other names: Mission Command or empowered execution.

Important ideas - time for a thread!
Let's start with OODA.

There are 2 or 3 really good intros to OODA out there that don't oversimplify, and Taylor's is one of them. It's also another OODA loop video with insanely low views for its value! (I'll share some more later on).

The OODA loop was the culmination of Boyd's synthesis of millennia of military strategy and scientific principles. It truly contains multitudes, and if you're operating in an kind of complex environment, it's required knowledge.

Previous thread here:
The paper at the end of the previous thread is a masterpiece of explanation about the building blocks of OODA. This is the other criminally neglected video I mentioned before.

Evolutionary Epistemology
I've come to think of OODA as less of a loop and more or a hierarchy...

A flow of energy/information from our external environment inwards ("up" the heirarcy).

Coupled with intent and actions flowing outwards, changing our environment which are then observed.

And so on...
Events happen, which are OBSERVED and have some effect on our model of the world (ORIENTATION). The familiarity of those events determines how far up/in the change to our models penetrates the hierarchy.

Changes in our mode determine what we DECIDE and ACT upon.
If OODA is a loop, it's a Hofstadter-esqe strange loop.

Great overview on what that means from @nateliason here…
What Taylor is really talking about in the newsletter is the concept of Mission Command - what @donvandergriff calls "The doctrine of empowerment"

MC is the "outward" flow if intent. It's so important that there's a whole section in my course on it.
MC relies on mutual TRUST (Einheit) and FLEXIBILITY of thinking (Behindigkeit) with ALIGNMENT (Auftragstaktik, Commanders Intent) to build a kind of group INTUITION (Fingerspitzengefühl).

These are the building blocks of EFFECTIVENESS or FLUENCY of operation embodied by OODA.
Having effective organisational OODA loops is how you win.

Mission Command is the mechanism by which you build those loops.

Here's a great resource for understanding MC by @donvandergriff and @PonchAGLX

So if Mission Command is how you build effectiveness on the doing side of OODA. The other "half" is how we understand our environment, how we OBSERVE and ORIENTATE.

This is Situational Awareness.
Even though a lot of the research into SA was carried out by the USAF, I haven't found much evidence that it was either influenced or known about by Boyd. @FuentesDeOnoro/@PonchAGLX do you know?

This makes the clear overlaps even more fascination. SA is exactly OO
It all comes down to AWARENESS, ALIGNMENT and ACTION
I dig into all of this in a lot more detail in my course

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More from @commandodev

15 Oct
Potentially unpopular opinion on the tech industry.

We're already good enough at doing.

#devops, #nocode, #agile are all mainly focused on building things better and faster.

That's not the bottleneck anymore. We should switch our focus to what comes before and after

What comes before?

Context and Situation - WHY are we doing this?

and after?

Learning and Improvement - how are we going to get better over time?

Agile practices were born into a time where building and shipping was a lot harder and more time consuming than it is now. The tech landscape also moved much slower.

A couple of hours every two weeks is no longer the right balance between execution and reflection.

Read 7 tweets
15 Oct
I've been researching, reading and practising on building better teams in tech start ups for ages.

One thing that's come up time and again (with increasing frequency recently) is navigating dichotomy and paradox.

So I'm going to dig into some of these phenomena. \1
I don't have any simple answers, but I do have an unusual perspective from which I hope to throw a different light.

I've been in tech for ~15 years and I've discovered some incredibly relevant ideas and doctrine from the military through research. \2 Image
The journey I've been on has been borne out of the pain of trying to lead technologists in chaotic start up environments.

It's lead me to re-discover things I never realised I learned from my military service.

In fact I think this stuff is so important, I made a course! \3
Read 10 tweets
24 Sep
I got a @onepeloton 3 weeks ago. Since then I've used it almost every day, and seen some pretty startling results.

I've lost nearly 5kg (not been drinking this month too) and my avg power output today over 45 mins was almost equal to a 20 min max effort in wk 1 🤯

Takeaways: Image
I am just a complex systems like any other. I want to pull out a few observation that I think apply to intervening in any system.
1) Make change easy and engaging.

I hate running. Even in the Royal Marines when I got relatively decent at it, I never really enjoyed it. Trying to take up a running habit has been a bust!

OTOH the whole experience of using the bike draws me in. Image
Read 8 tweets
24 Sep
Leadership is at least as much about systems as it is about skills.

So much of the conversation is about teaching leaders the right "skills". Even worse, we talk about skills, when we really mean knowledge.

As if there's some set of techniques that will make anyone a "Great Leader" ™️
Leadership, and so many other aspects of ability, is so dependent on the context (or system) in which that ability is deployed.

What works well in one place at a particular time, is less effective or even actively detrimental elsewhere.
Read 5 tweets
28 Aug
Just sent out my first ever email offering a thing I'm making to my (tiny) email list. Pretty cool feeling!…

Table of contents: \1
FUNDAMENTALS - the building blocks of operational excellence Image
STRATEGY - how do you communicate your place in the world and your plan for the next quarter + Image
Read 6 tweets
28 Aug
Pst... Wanna grow your height by 2 cm?


My military ID card had my height as 178cm (5ft 10).


Never mind how long ago!

A year or two back I did a heath check. Image my shock when my height was recorded as 174 cm 😫

Read 5 tweets

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