I hope you now understand that mental models and mental tools are more than just a model of the brain, they are valuable adjuncts to how you are able to work. In todays last session, lets cover more general mental models that could be of use.
I recently came across Charlie Munger’s 1995 speech, The Psychology of Human Misjudgment, which introduced me to an explanation of what I’d been doing all my business life – using the power of applying mental tools from a wide array of disciplines and applying these to the business questions I had.
Last week I introduced tools for learning, this week – our last post on this topic- we look at some miscellaneous ideas I’d like to share.
Over-influence from precision/models -occurs when numerical data are presented in a manner that implies better precision than is actually the case; since precision is a limit to accuracy, this often leads to overconfidence in the accuracy as well. For example …. A tour guide at a museum says a dinosaur skeleton is 100,000,005 years old, because an expert told him that the skeleton was 100 million years old when he started working there 5 years ago.
Uncertainty avoidance – expresses the degree to which a typical person in a society feels uncomfortable with a sense of uncertainty and ambiguity. The fundamental issue here is how a society deals with the fact that the future can never be known: should we try to control the future or just let it happen? Countries exhibiting strong uncertainty avoidance index (UAI) maintain rigid codes of belief and behaviour and are intolerant of unorthodox behaviour and ideas. Weak UAI societies maintain a more relaxed attitude in which practice counts more than principles. People in cultures with high uncertainty avoidance tend to be more emotional. They try to minimize the occurrence of unknown and unusual circumstances and to proceed with careful changes step by step by planning and by implementing rules, laws and regulations. In contrast, low uncertainty avoidance cultures accept and feel comfortable in unstructured situations or changeable environments and try to have as few rules as possible. People in these cultures tend to be more pragmatic, they are more tolerant of change.
Not invented here bias – is a stance adopted by social, corporate, or institutional cultures that avoid using or buying already existing products, research, standards, or knowledge because of their external origins and costs. The reasons for not wanting to use the work of others are varied, but some can include fear of patent infringement, lack of understanding of the foreign work, an unwillingness to acknowledge or value the work of others, jealousy or forming part of a wider turf war.As a social phenomenon, this philosophy manifests as an unwillingness to adopt an idea or product because it originates from another culture, a form of tribalism.
Man with a Hammer Tendency – to the man with a hammer, every problem tends to look pretty much like a nail. You think of an idea and then, pretty soon, it becomes THE idea. You start seeing how THE idea can apply to anything and everything, it’s the universal explanation for how the universe works. Suddenly, everything you’ve ever thought of before must be reinterpreted through the lens of THE idea.
I hope you have enjoyed looking at the mental tools i pack away in my tool box… good luck applying them all NOT JUST ONE.