Saturday, April 25, 2009

Reduce Your Decision Cycle Time To Win Every Time

The truth be known, it's NOT the best idea that wins in the marketplace.

And it's NOT the best equipped Army that wins on the battlefield.

And it's definitely NOT the best athletes that win on the playing field.

But if that's the case, then who is the winner going to be in each of those situations?

Believe it or not, 99.9% of the time, the winner is the side that can make critical decisions and act on those decisions better and faster than their competition.

Sure, don't get me wrong, you want the best idea you can get, the best equipped Army that you can have, and certainly the best athletes that you can afford. But if you can make and act on decisions faster than your opponent, then you can overcome almost every shortfall - even if all your decisions aren't perfect.

Decision Cycle Time is the lapse time from when the "environment / playing field" begins to change to the moment you can have a new path implemented in your plan of action. Sometimes decision cycle times are weeks and months, other times they are seconds. But regardless of what the span is, as long as your cycle time is shorter (faster) than your opponents, you will win, because they will always be playing catch-up.

The key behind this concept is that you stay one step ahead of your competition - making your opponent ALWAYS react to your decisions, not the other way around. It's making them react to you, while you are always proactively defining the next step.

If your opponent's decision cycle time is 10 days, then you want yours to be 9 days. This means that just before he makes his decision, he has to start all over again - because you have redefined the battlefield, the marketplace or the playing field. And it means that he is always, 1 day behind you - always reacting to your decisions.

Likewise, if he shortens his to 8.5 days, then you need to figure how to shorten yours to 8, or you will always be chasing his last decision and not defining the environment in which you are competing. That might include more risk and / or more cost, but if you want to maintain the advantage of defining the battle ground environment yourself, then you must do it.

As a pilot no place was this more evident than in a dogfight.

During Air Combat Maneuvers (ACM), when you are going head-to-head with an opponent, it is critical that you drive the fight, as we would say. That requires the ability to assess not only your own plane's position and capability at any given moment in time and space, but also your opponents. It requires you be able to rapidly evaluate who has an advantage in altitude, airspeed and position at any given time. And the person that can make that assessment quickest, come up with an attack strategy and implement it, before his opponent, will almost always win - even if his opponent has a superior airplane.

But it's not a one time thing - it's the ability to consistently make decisions faster and more effectively than your opponent that guarantees victory.

Is there the risk that you will make the wrong move, trying to rush it? Absolutely. That's why you have to make sure that you have systems in place to minimize that possibility. But if you wait too long, trying to get the "perfect solution", you may be given your opponent the time he needs to feel comfortable to redefine the battle . . . in his favor.

Every where you look, when there is competition involved, you will find that the winner is almost always the one who can make decisions faster and better than his opponent - regardless of the other variables in the mix.

Look around, watch your favorite sport, read about a famous battle, or observe a market - it's amazing how much decision cycle time plays into the outcome.

1 comment:

  1. Great post JJ. I am going to pick up another favorite book: Mental Toughness Training for Sports. Like The Centered Skiing - it really isn't about a sport. You've got me thinking...