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:
- What perspective am I using right now, and what are the subparts of that perspective?
- Can I think of the situation from multiple perspectives?
- 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.
- What is your gut reaction to this policy change?
- What perspective is your gut using?
- What subparts of the perspective can you see?
- Can you think of the situation from other perspectives? Do they provide a different reaction?
- What perspectives might be missing from your analysis?
- 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.