Why the Digital Age Demands Decision Makers to be Like Elite Marines and Zen Monks

How Modern Decision Makers Have to Confront Present Shock and Information Overload

We live in times when Information Overload is getting the better of cognitive abilities to absorb and process the needed data and information to make informed decisions.

In addition, the Digital Age has also engendered the Present Shock of Virality and Instant Gratification wherein decision makers do not have the luxury of taking decision after careful consideration and Due Diligence.

Indeed, when a Million Tweets and Facebook posts demand your urgent attention and require your instant responses, how can decision makers take the right, or for that matter, at least, notionally accurate decisions that address both the short term and the longer term consequences of such decisions.

In short, being online all the time, and being subject to an endless barrage of digital knocks means that decision makers are often frazzled and left wanting.

This is the reason why many Political and Business Leaders often complain that the Convergence of Social Media and Our 24/7 World is leading us to an abyss of Present Shock where everything happens at once and when decisions have to be taken in split seconds, which was earlier the domain of Combat Units.

Why Decision Makers in the Present Times Should Think Like Elite Marines in Warzones

Indeed, this is the reason why many leading American corporates are seeking the help of Navy SEALS and Defence Marines to help their Managers and Senior Executives navigate the tricky terrain that is modern decision making.

Moreover, just as Elite Special Forces have to watch out for Minefields and Booby Traps when they patrol enemy territories, contemporary decision makers too have to be on the lookout for potential minefields of Disinformation and Fake News that can derail and worse, destroy the credibility of decision makers and their firms.

In addition, the Reflexes and the Response Times have to be coordinated in split seconds, which is another reason for our argument that decision makers in these times have to think and act in a manner similar to Elite Combat Units in Warzones.

Apart from this, another Dilemma that decision makers have to confront is the consequences of their decisions in quick response times since the time lag between decisions and consequences is now measured in minutes and hours, rather than days and months.

This calls for a surprisingly high degree of Agility and Quick Thinking that soldiers are better at rather than staid Business Leaders in Pressed Suits.

What is the OODA Loop and How Decision Makers Can Use it to Make Agile Decisions

Turning to the theory behind our argument, the term OODA Loop comes into focus. The OODA Loop stands for Observation, Orientation, Decision, and Action that characterizes how soldiers make decisions.

First, they have to observe the situation, orient themselves to the circumstances, decide on the best possible course of action, and then act accordingly.

All this happens in a matter of minutes, or even seconds, since the enemies do not wait for the soldiers to ponder over their responses.

Similarly, modern decision makers have to first observe how events are unfolding, orient themselves to the circumstances of the moment, decide on the appropriate action in a rapid manner, and almost immediately, implement the decision.

Moreover, the OODA Loop also includes acting on the feedback that is also instantaneous and which can have grave consequences, if ignored.

The OODA Loop is extensively used in the WestPoint Academy where generations of United States Marines have been trained and whose graduates often are among the Best and Brightest of the Defence Personnel.

Therefore, this theory can be used by modern decision makers as they confront vital decisions that have to be made in a matter of minutes in our tech driven 24/7 world.

Being Zen like Helps Decision Makers to Avoid Cognitive Dissonance, Biases and Traps

Having said that, there are other aspects why decision making in the present times also needs a certain Zen kind of focus.

Indeed, this is the reason why many Spiritual Gurus are being asked to assist Business Leaders in developing the necessary Fortitude and Inner Strength to deal with the complexities of modern decision making.

For instance, quick decision making cannot be taken in a Troubled Frame of Mind. At the same time, decision makers have to avoid the Cognitive Dissonance Trap wherein there is a disconnect between their thoughts and actions.

Apart from this, Cognitive Biases and Emotional Triggers have to be set aside as well.

All this requires advanced levels of concentration and sagacity that only a Focused and Self Aware as well as a Calm and Composed person can.

As one reads the business press, the confluence of Western Armed Forces concepts and the Eastern attributes of Patience and Mental Strength of the Zen Monks are being used by Business Leaders worldwide.

In our working experience, we have been to many Leadership Retreats where we found the trainers to use these concepts to train us in the art and science of decision making in the Digital Age.

Preparing the Leaders of Tomorrow

Last, it is also the case that Business Schools incorporate these insights and theories from the West and the East in their curriculum so as to prepare the next generation of decision makers for the VUCA world or the world that is Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous.

Already some Business Schools in India have experimented and then successfully incorporated these approaches to decision making.

To conclude, as the world becomes more fluid in the Post Pandemic Age, it is necessary for decision makers to be as sagacious as Zen Monks and as Agile as Elite Marines at the same time.


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Authorship/Referencing - About the Author(s)

The article is Written By “Prachi Juneja” and Reviewed By Management Study Guide Content Team. MSG Content Team comprises experienced Faculty Member, Professionals and Subject Matter Experts. We are a ISO 2001:2015 Certified Education Provider. To Know more, click on About Us. The use of this material is free for learning and education purpose. Please reference authorship of content used, including link(s) to ManagementStudyGuide.com and the content page url.


Decision Making