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We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.

Leaders need to understand that mental models are the lens through which we see reality, indirectly.

Otherwise, we fall into the bias of Naïve Realism, believing that we see things objectively, as they “really” are.

This is a problem because it makes us sure that what we perceive is true and correct.

And being sure of something can motivate us to take the “obvious” action or reaction.

It also makes anyone who doesn’t agree with us appear ignorant, crazy, or stupid.

We’d be well advised to pause and ask ourselves:

  1. What perspective am I using right now, and what are the subparts of that perspective?
  2. Can I think of the situation from multiple perspectives?
  3. Are their perspectives missing from my analysis?

Any given situation has multiple perspectives.

Let’s try a simple example:

You are a development manager working at BIGCORP, and your company announces a change to adopt an “unlimited vacation” policy in 2020.

  1. What is your gut reaction to this policy change?
  2. What perspective is your gut using?
  3. What subparts of the perspective can you see?
  4. Can you think of the situation from other perspectives? Do they provide a different reaction?
  5. What perspectives might be missing from your analysis?
  6. What conflicts/surprises may arise between different perspectives?

It might be interesting to pass this around your team, and see what different perspectives and reactions they have.

Or, take a moment and write me back with your answers.


About Marcus Blankenship

Where other technical coaches focus on process or tools, I focus on the human aspects of your Programmer to Manager transition. I help you hire the right people, create the right culture, and setup the right process which achieves your goals. Managing your team isn't something you learned in college. In fact, my clients often tell me "I never prepared for this role, I always focused on doing the work". If you're ready to improve your leadership, process and team, find out how I can help you.

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