Peter Senge describes ‘mental models’ as follows:
|“Mental models are deeply held internal images of how the world works, images that limit us to familiar ways of thinking and acting. Very often, we are not consciously aware of our mental models or the effects they have on our behaviour”|
We not only individually create our own mental models, but we share models within organisations and cultures. They are the lens though which we look at and understand the world. Everything flows from our mental models – feelings, actions, behaviours, strategies. The model is in many ways not just a lens through which we see reality, but it is what creates reality itself.
Models, although always helpful to some extent, are also limiting, as they block and distorts certain information that don’t fit in with the logic of the model. In this way models are always ‘biased’ to some degree. Our models can cause is to miss opportunities and ignore threats. Or vice versa. All models will have blind spots. The key is learning to spot and recognise those blind spots. Models that were once valid can become out-dated when the environment changes.
What are your dominant mental models? What implicit beliefs, assumptions and values make up your worldview? How do they filter the information that you receive from the world? What might be limitations or blind spots in your model?
What are the dominant mental models at play in the cultural worldview in which you are embedded?