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Set182012

Stop Flying Blind: Shorten Your Business Feedback Loops

The Business Feedback Loop:

  • Plan: Plan out your actions based on your companies overall vision and your mission objectives.
  • Brief: Make sure everyone on your team knows what the plan is and how to do their part.
  • Execute: Follow the plan.
  • Debrief: Measure what happened, and discuss it. Look for ways to improve next cycle.
  • Win: Win by constantly correcting your next actions based on what you learned from previous cycles.

The Feedback Loop is a part of adapting for survival.  Far too many businesses don’t take survival seriously until it is to late. When the stakes are high, such as during a restructuring or during a crises, feedback loops are more obvious. Unfortunately, many businesses end up dying a slow death because they don’t recognize how crucial it is to monitor and assess their feedback loops.

The impact of decisions isn’t always obvious. If feedback loops are too long it’s tough to associate results with actual activities, this makes having accurate and up-to-date information critical to the success of your projects. Having access to regular analysis of reliable and live data gives you the option to steer your daily business decisions based on immediate feed back. By shortening the feed back loop you can out maneuver your competition.

Vietnam war era F4 PhantomIn his book Flawless Execution: Use the Techniques and Systems of America’s Fighter Pilots to Perform at Your Peak and Win the Battles of the Business World author James D. Murphy explained the importance of learning from each experience. “Let’s go back in history. In Vietnam, if a fighter pilot could survive his first ten missions, there was a good chance he would survive 100 missions and go home to his family. But the first ten missions were tough — most of the pilots lost were lost inside of ten missions. To survive long enough to go home, a pilot first had to get through those initial ten missions.”

A long feedback cycle is like flying blind.  If you receive trimesterly reports about your companies performance you will only know what went wrong after it is far to late to take corrective action. One slip-up and your company is bankrupt before your employees know what hit them. Even if no disaster happens you will still have to wait 3 months to see the effects of your decisions, while your competitors are constantly innovating and adapting.

F-22 Raptor, a fully modern 5th generation fighterTo properly manage your feedback loop you need to have the right digital tools. A modern fighter jet relies on sensors and processing power to assist the pilot to make split second decision of life and death. As a business manager you too need to have access to software and processes that work together to give you daily progress reports, alert you to any deviations from your plan, and prevent certain types of unpleasant “surprises”.

Stop flying blind. Pilot your business based on analysis of reliable data and information. Talk to us to find out more.

Noah J Revoy

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