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Rocket GTM 🚀 - The OODA Loop

Alfie Marsh
Alfie Marsh
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(Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes)
Your First 90 Days
When an executive joins a new company they are often asked:
“What’s your 30/60/90 day plan?”
This question is so popular there are entire books written on the subject.
Personally, I’m not a fan of this question.
It’s linear, chronological, and produces unrealistic answers.
I prefer The OODA Loop framework.
Here’s why.
The OODA Loop
The OODA Loop is a framework used by the military.
  • Observe
  • Orient
  • Decide
  • Act
👀 Observe
When an army general arrives on the battle field they don’t rush into action. They wait, watch, listen, and observe.
If you’re joining a new company the first thing you should do is gather information.
You must get the lay of the land.
Meet with executives. Meet with reps. Meet with investors. Speak with customers. And listen to calls.
The observation phase is about learning.
Input > Output.
🧭 Orient
Now you must synthesize that information and orient yourself to your new environment.
  • Who are the key decision makers?
  • Who has influence?
  • Where are the resource constraints?
  • What are the big projects everyone wants done, but no one has been able to execute?
Orientation is about figuring where you can have an impact and how to get things done.
By now you should have acquired enough information to make a decision.
💪 Decide
Imperfection today is better than perfection tomorrow.
You must live and die by this sword.
Don’t wait for 100% accuracy. Hell, don’t even wait for 70%!
You must act on the information you have available and figure the rest out on the way. The direction of your decisions are more important than the decision themselves.
It’s not about ‘being right’. It’s about ‘getting to right’ which matters.
Focus is everything.
Cut the noise. Cancel projects.
Get laser focused on what moves the needle.
🪓 Act
This part is simple. Execute. Get the job done.
If you have a player coach role or are a first time executive you’ll be expected to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty.
If you’re coming in at a later stage, perhaps Series C or above, you’ve been hired to build the team. Action means recruiting. You need to bring A+ players with you, or be efficient at bringing new ones on board.
Either way, execution matters.
Don’t wait too long before showing results. And don’t try to make too big of an impact straight away.
Start small. Be noticeable. Move the needle.
Above all. Get **it done.
Early action helps you build alliances and prove yourself as a doer.
Wrapping it up 🌯
One of the reasons I’m not a fan of the 30 / 60 / 90 day plan is because it’s static. The OODA Loop solves for this because it’s a continuous cycle.
Your observation never stops, new information helps you better orient, which leads to better decisions. Your actions continue to have superior outcomes as you iterate. Your loop becomes a self-improving prophecy.
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Alfie Marsh
Alfie Marsh @alfieisamarsh

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