Mental Models

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A key component of the learning organization is a widespread understanding of the concept of mental models and of how they affect our interpersonal communication and understanding. This brief presentation is intended to introduce mental models. It describes how they develop and what it means to LEARN at the level of our mental maps.

Mental Models

  1. 1. Dr. Greg Waddell www.LeadStrategic.comTwitter: @DrGregWaddell
  2. 2. Look at the words in the box. Slumber Pillow Dream Night Bed Blanket Quiet Pajamas Nap Snooze
  3. 3. Now write down on a piece of paper as many of thewords in the box that you can remember.
  4. 4. Our minds tend to categorize thingsand then squeeze what we see into ourcategories.
  5. 5. Triangles
  6. 6. Triangles
  7. 7. Circles
  8. 8. Circles
  9. 9. Our categoriesbegin to organizethemselves intosystems.
  10. 10. Our categoriesbegin to organizethemselves intosystems.
  11. 11. Our systems begin to organize themselves into ideologies.
  12. 12. Goodness
  13. 13. Goodness Wealth
  14. 14. Goodness How these two are connected Wealth
  15. 15. Learning at the level of our mentalmodels is categorically different fromeveryday learning.
  16. 16. Problem
  17. 17. ProblemCause
  18. 18. Solution Problem Cause
  19. 19. ImplementSolution Problem Cause
  20. 20. ImplementSolution Problem Cause
  21. 21. ImplementSolution Problem Cause Assumptions
  22. 22. ImplementSolution Problem Priorities Cause Assumptions
  23. 23. Implement CategoriesSolution Problem Priorities Cause Assumptions
  24. 24. • Teach your staff to recognize their own mental maps.
  25. 25. • Teach your staff to recognize their own mental maps.• Develop a culture of psychological safety where people feel free to expose their mental maps.
  26. 26. • Teach your staff to recognize their own mental maps.• Develop a culture of psychological safety where people feel free to expose their mental maps.• As a leader, be willing to set the example.
  27. 27. “Get your model out there where it can beshot at. Invite others to challenge yourassumptions and add their own. Instead ofbecoming a champion for one possibleexplanation or hypothesis or model, collect asmany as possible.”Donella Meadows, "Dancing With Systems: What to Do When Systems ResistChange," 2001; available from http://www.wholeearthmag.com/ArticleBin/447.html
  28. 28. SourcesDenzau, A. T. and North, D. C. (September 8, 1993). Shared mental models: Ideologies & institutions. Washington University: Center for the Study of Political Economy. Accessed September 23, 2006 from http://129.3.20.41/eps/eh/papers/9309/9309003.pdfPfeffer, J. (2005) Changing mental models: HRs most important task. Human Resource Management 44(2), 123-128. Retrieved September 24, 2006, from Wiley InterScienceRichards, D. (2001) Coordination & shared mental models. Journal of Political Science 45(2), 259-276. Retrieved October 4, 2006, from Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhostSenge, P. M. (2006). The fifth discipline: The art & practice of the learning organization (Revised ed.). New York: Currency/Doubleday. (Original work published 1996).Argyris, C. & Schön, D. A. (1996). Organizational learning II: Theory, method, & practice. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.Kim, D. H. (1993) The link between individual & organizational learning. Sloan Management Review 35(1), 37-50. Retrieved August 10, 2006, from ABI/Inform Global

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