THE DECISION MAKING PROCESSDECISION MAKING:Decisionmaking is the mental process that results in the selection of a course of action from several alternative solutions.The human mind naturally observes, orients, decides, and acts with every action incorporated into our day. It is a subconscious process similar to the natural respiratory pause taught in the fundamentals of marksmanship.Mastering this mental process will allow you to improve your decisionmaking ability just as mastering the respiratory pause allows you to consistently hit your target at 500 yards (and beyond).Education and experience play important roles in the decision cycle as they provide an increase in the number of possible solutions.THE MENTAL PROCESS:John Boyd first identified the four-step mental process known as the "decision cycle," "OODA loop," or "Boyd cycle."The process applies to any two-sided conflict from hand-to- hand combat to large-scale military engagements.The process is used to generate better decisions and faster responses. It is proven that the side that consistently completes the cycle faster gains an advantage that increases with each cycle.Although this decision cycle has been implemented in the command and control component of warfighting, it is a valuable tool in developing the individual decisionmaking process and can be utilized to understand how we make decisions or analyze the decisions of others.THE LOOP (observeorientdecideact)OBSERVE:We take in information about our position, our surroundings, and our enemy. Sometimes we actively seek the information; sometimes it is thrust upon us.ORIENT:Next we orient; making certain estimates, assumptions, analyses, and judgments about the situation creatinga mental image. In other words, we try to figure out what the situation means to us.DECIDE:Based on our orientation, we decide what to do. This decision can take the form of immediate action or a more organized, deliberate plan.