Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

Mental models (The Fifth Discipline)


Published on

Published in: Business

Mental models (The Fifth Discipline)

  1. 1. MENTAL MODELS Presented By: RUHI BERI
  5. 5. THE ANSWER IS… “Mental Models”
  6. 6. MENTAL MODELS Many of the best ideas never get put into practice because:  They conflict with deeply held internal images of how the world works. (e.g. Anger)  These images limit us to familiar ways of thinking and acting. • Images • Assumptions • Stories Generalizations • Our viewpoint How we ACT???
  7. 7. EXAMPLE Mom: Son, it is 7 'o clock already. Get up! You are getting late for school Son: I don't want to go to school Ma.. The teachers don't like me and all the students laugh at me. Mom: Son.. that is no reason to skip school. You have to go to school -- besides, you are the Principal of the school!!
  8. 8. MENTAL MODELS Our mental models determine what we see and what we do not see. They are the symbols that we use to mentally process the environment in which we function. Mental models can be simple generalizations such as "people are untrustworthy," or they can be complex theories, such as my assumptions about why members of my family interact as they do. But what is most important to grasp is that mental models are active; they shape how we act. These are the mental constructs that dictate: The decisions that we take. The actions that we engage in.
  9. 9. THE SECOND DISCIPLINE The second discipline in the art of building learning organizations is the discipline of “MENTAL MODELS”. Discipline of working with mental models starts with turning the mirror inward; learning to unearth our internal pictures of the world, to bring them to the surface and hold them rigorously to scrutiny. It involves: Surfacing these models Testing these models Improving our internal pictures of how the world works It promises to be a major breakthrough for building Learning Org.
  10. 10. POWER OF MENTAL MODELS ON OUR ACTIONS The inherent power of the Mental Models on our actions lie in the following: They become the cognitive lens through which we view the world Two people with different Mental Models can see the same situation and describe it differently. Therefore, it can be said that people observe selectively, based on their Mental Models, and act accordingly. (e.g. Argument)
  11. 11. MENTAL MODELS SHAPE OUR PERCEPTIONS An Example of Detroit Auto Executives: Japan was steadily gaining market and profit share in automobile industry US automakers felt that the reason behind their success might be attributed to their management (apart from cheap labour and protected home markets) Detroit Executives visited their factories but were unimpressed as they felt that the manufacturing operations were all staged for their tour and they were not shown the real plants because of the absence of inventories.
  12. 12. MENTAL MODELS SHAPE OUR PERCEPTIONS Real Plants have Inventories Mental Model Japanese staged fake plants for Detroit Executives Perception Just-in-Time Reality
  13. 13. THE REAL PROBLEM WITH MENTAL MODELS Mental Models are simplifications which may be true for a particular set of conditions, which are good for a limited time. So the problem is not whether these mental models are right or wrong, the real problem arises when they become implicit- when they exist below the level of our awareness. We don’t realize that our behavior is being dictated by a certain mental model that we have bought into deeply
  14. 14. HOW IT WORKS??? Reality 1 Mental Model Unawareness > Unexamined > Unchanged GAP Reality 2 Mental Model *This gap between the reality and our mental models lead to counterproductive actions.
  15. 15. MENTAL MODELS AND SYSTEMS THINKING Failure to appreciate Mental Models has undermined many efforts to foster systems thinking. Example of an American Industrial Goods Manufacturer : A leading player was continuously losing market share A team of MIT system dynamics specialists was brought in Post analysis, it was concluded that the production managers held inventories as low as possible for the purpose of cost control. They also aggressively cutback production when orders turned down. This resulted in unreliable and slow delivery, even when production capacity was adequate.
  16. 16. CONT’D… The specialists also predicted that deliveries would lag further during business downturns than during booms. (counter to conventional wisdom, but was true). The recommendations were thus implemented, production rates were maintained and delivery performance was improved. This experiment gave results beyond expectations, as was seen in the next downturn. Market share increased due to prompter deliveries and repeated buying from satisfied customers. Internal systems group was set up but the new policies were not taken to heart ,as was seen in the recovery period when managers stopped worrying about delivery service again.
  17. 17. CONT’D… Four years later when another recession occurred, the firm went back to their original low inventories and began losing market share again. Reason for the system to drift back to the original state: The inertia of deeply entrenched mental models which overwhelmed even the best systemic insights. Mental Models deeply embedded in firm’s management traditions: Importance of inventory control and the responsibility of every production manger to avoid stockpiling.
  18. 18. INCUBATING A NEW BUSINESS WORLDVIEW Innovation Strategizing Preparing for Future Scenarios System Thinking Working with Mental Models
  19. 19. WORKING WITH MENTAL MODELS IN PRACTICE Three facets to developing an organization’s capacity to surface and test Mental models: Tools that promote personal awareness and reflective skills. “Infrastructures” that try to institutionalize regular practice with mental models. A culture that promotes inquiry and challenging our thinking.
  20. 20. OVERCOMING “THE BASIC DISEASES OF THE HIERARCHY” For traditional authoritarian organizations the dogma is “Manage, Organize, Control” For learning organizations, the dogma is “Vision, Values, and Mental Models”. Healthy firms are the ones that bring people together to develop the best possible Mental Models for facing any situation at hand. The core values to overcome the basic diseases of the hierarchy: Openness Merit
  21. 21. OVERCOMING “THE BASIC DISEASES OF THE HIERARCHY” Openness • Antidote to the disease of gamesplaying that dominated people’s behavior in face-to- face meetings Merit • Antidote to the disease of bureaucratic politics in decision making by considering the best interests of the organization
  22. 22. WHAT ARE THE LIMITATIONS IN PRACTISING THESE VALUES? Chris Argyris’s “Action Science” offers theory and method for examining “the reasoning that underlies our actions”. • Insulate our Mental Models from examination. Defensive Routines • Highly skillful at protecting ourselves from pain and threat posed by learning situations Skilled Incompetence • Failure to learn lead to incompetence which hamper the achievement of results we really want. Results Suffer
  23. 23. TOOLS AND SKILLS Two major skills required to work with Mental Models: Skills of Reflection: concerns with slowing down our thinking process so that we can become more aware of how we form our mental models and the ways they influence our actions. Skills of Inquiry: concerns how we operate in face-to-face interactions with others, especially in dealing with complex and conflicting issues.
  24. 24. CONT’D… The tools and methods constituting the core of the discipline of mental models: Facing up to distinctions between espoused theories (what we say) and theories-in-use (the implied theory in what we do)  Recognizing “leaps of abstraction” (noticing our jumps from observation to generalization) Exposing the “left-hand column” (articulating what we normally do not say) Balancing inquiry and advocacy (skills for effective collaborative learning)
  25. 25. ESPOUSED THEORY VERSUS THEORY- IN-USE One basic reflective skill involves using gaps between what we say and what we do as a vehicle for becoming more aware. The awareness about this gap holds the potential for creative change. (e.g. Honesty) Where a gap does exist, the questions to ponder over are : Do I really value the espoused theory? Is it really part of my vision? If there is no commitment to the espoused theory, then the gap does not represent a tension between reality and the view I advance. *To discover the theories-in-use, a “ruthlessly compassionate” partner is needed.
  26. 26. LEAPS OF ABSTRACTION Leaps of Abstraction occur when we move from direct observation (concrete “data”) to generalizations without testing. They impede learning because unexamined assumptions are treated as facts. The way out: Ask yourself, what you belief about the way the world works-the nature of business, people in general, and specific individuals. Ask “What is the ‘data’ on which this generalization is based?” Then ask, “Am I willing to consider that this generalization may be inaccurate or misleading? In case you are willing, separate the generalization from the data which led to it and inquire into the reasons of one another’s actions.
  27. 27. LEFT-HAND COLUMN This is a powerful technique to see how our mental models operate in particular situations. It reveal ways that we manipulate situations to avoid dealing with how we actually think and feel, and thereby prevent a counterproductive situation from improving. Steps: Choosing a Problem The Right-Hand Column (What Was Said) The Left-Hand Column (What You Were Thinking) Reflection: Using Your Left-Hand Column as a Resource
  28. 28. A SAMPLE CASE An R&D project manager (Jim) assumes his supervisor (Todd) feels harshly about him. In the right-hand column, Jim writes down his last conversation with Todd. In the left, Jim recalls his own thoughts.
  29. 29. What I was thinking What we said We're two months late, and I didn't think he knew. I was hoping we could catch up. TODD: Jim, I'd like to come down there next week. We're a few weeks behind, and I think we might all benefit from a meeting at your office. I need to make it clear that I'm willing to take responsibility for this, but I don't want to volunteer for more work. ME: I've been very concerned about these deadlines. As you know, we've had some tough luck here, and we're working around the clock. But of course, we'll squeeze in a meeting at your convenience. He never offers this help in the planning stages, when I could really use it. It's too late now to bring that up. TODD: Well, it's occurred to me that we could use better coordination between us. There are probably some ways I could help. The changes he keeps making are the real reason we're late. He must have another one. ME: Well, I'm happy to talk through any changes you have in mind. TODD: I don't have anything specific in mind. It's a shame I can't tell him that he's the cause of the delays. If I can hold him off two more weeks, I think we'll be ready. ME: I'd like to have a prototype finished to show you before you come down. What if we set up something for the twenty-seventh?
  30. 30. REFLECTION As you reflect, ask yourself: What has really led me to think and feel this way? What was your intention? What were you trying to accomplish? Did you achieve the results you intended? How might your comments have contributed to the difficulties? Why didn't you say what was in your left-hand column? What assumptions are you making about the other person or people? What were the costs of operating this way? What were the payoffs? What prevented you from acting differently? How can I use my left-hand column as a resource to improve our communications?
  31. 31. BALANCING INQUIRY AND ADVOCACY Collaborative Learning Inquiry (Learning From Others) Advocacy (Influencing Others) Involves articulating one’s own views and learning more about other’s views.
  32. 32. Pure Advocacy Goal is to win the argument Confirming data is revealed selectively Balancing Inquiry and Advocacy Goal is to find the best argument Both confirming and discontinuing data are revealed
  33. 33. BALANCING INQUIRY AND ADVOCACY Reciprocal inquiry can be used in the following manner: Revealing your views and assumptions, alongwith the reasoning or the data in support of it. Inviting others to inquire into them. Inquiring into other’s views and assumptions. Requesting for additional reasoning or data in support of their views. *If practised with commitment, this would lead to collaborative learning.
  34. 34. MENTAL MODELS AND THE FIFTH DISCIPLINE Mental Models’ effect on Systems Thinking: Entrenched mental models can lead to failure of system thinking efforts. If managers “believe” their views as facts rather than assumptions, they will not be open to challenging those views. If they lack skills in inquiring into their and other’s ways of thinking, they will be limited in experimenting with new ways of thinking. Systems thinking is equally important to work with mental models effectively. It helps to uncover the flaws in mental models due to the flaws in system and structure. Thus, both these disciplines go hand- in-hand.
  35. 35. CONT’D… Just as “linear thinking” dominates most mental models used for critical decisions today, the learning organizations of the future will make key decisions based on shared understandings of interrelationships and patterns of change.
  36. 36. It is high time to challenge our belief systems and break-free towards new horizons of learning and growth!!! HAVE FUN EXPLORING LIFE  BBy: Harun Yahya