Edge execution requires guidance – an example from the US military
Edge execution avoids long decision-making cycles and allows organizations to react to new developments quickly. It requires the delegation of decision making to font-line people who are likely to encounter new developments first.
Traditionally, the new development would be reported up the command chain, probably altered in process and then subjected to a consent and planning-based decision-making process before the final decision is eventually communicated down for execution again. This time-consuming decision-making process is less and less viable in a chaotic VUCA world where decisions need to be made fast.
OODA loops are one concept for edge execution developed by the US military and increasingly used in business as well. Edge execution delegates decision making downwards in organizations and grants high levels of autonomy to front-line leaders.
Edge execution requires trust in the ability of operational managers to make the right decisions based on professionalism, training and a strong culture. But it also requires control.
In the military, the boundaries to front-line decision-making are called “implicit guidance & control” or “rules of engagement.
The quality assurance of edge execution includes the adjustment of the decision making boundaries if that need should arise. Examples include strategy changes, different environmental conditions or deteriorating decision quality.
Here is an example from the US troops in Iraq about how their rules of engagement needed to change once too many civilian casualties started to threaten the success of the overall operation.