Mental models are simplifications of thought processes. They can give us a useful guide for how to think. They can suggest how to prioritise one thing over another, when faced with a number of choices. As we read, we might uncover and learn new models. As we are faced with decisions, we can apply the mental model, and each decision becomes an opportunity to test the utility of the model. If the outcome is good, keep the model. Otherwise, improve or discard it.

Some mental models are:

  • Demanding and Supportive – the best way to approach relationships.
  • Learning from others – identify solution, examine problem, investigate context, consider adaptability
  • Tight-Loose-Tight – set clear, sharp expectations; trust and empower to deliver; hold to account.
  • “One Thing” – what is the one priority you want to achieve today / this month / this year? Cut out all the rest
  • Gravitate toward activities that lead to long-term growth over immediate gratification.
  • There are always areas of commonality and agreement – find them and focus on them first.
  • Job to be Done theory – what “job” is this product or service being hired to achieve?
  • Impact – Confidence – Ease matrix of prioritisation
  • Ability to influence – Impact matrix of prioritisation
  • Speeches – short and interesting, preferably

What are other good mental models? How can we find them?