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Jun 9, 2023

Mark McGrath has applied the teachings of John Boyd to a career that began in the Marine Corps, included leadership positions in financial services firms and consulting with businesses with a need to learn to thrive in volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) environments. He co-founded the consultancy AGLX and serves as its Chief Learning Officer. He is the co-host of the popular podcast “No Way Out” which is dedicated to examining and advancing the use of the theories of John Boyd to help both individuals and businesses seeking to improve their capacity for free and independent action.

Mark is also a continuous learner. He has examined the works of John Boyd from as many perspectives as possible including visiting the archives of his books and papers at the Marine Corps University library at Quantico.

In this OODAcast we ask Mark for his perspectives on Boyd and OODA, resulting in some unique and at times surprising insights. We cover:

  • Ludwig von Mises and Austrian Economics, the economic theories that many of us (myself included) believe to be the only economic theories grounded on reality. Mises cites the ancient philosopher Heraclitus: Everything is in a ceaseless flux, there is no permanent being; all is change and becoming.Doesn’t that sound like Boyd?
  • The connection between Boyd’s approaches and realities of physics and biology
  • How history impacted Boyd’s views on decision-making in competitive environments
  • How leaders can continue to sharpen the saw and keep learning.
  • Why treating the OODA Loop as the only concept from Boyd is just wrong. Study of Boyd may start with the OODA loop because it is the most famous of his concepts but it it one of many contributions. This scope of his work is so far beyond that.
  • Regarding OODA, we discuss the critical aspect of the Orientation step. Mark considers Orientation as our internal operating system that needs to be constantly upgraded and updated to stay relevant for success.


Mark McGrath on LinkedIn

The No Way Out podcast