The Map is Not the Territory is a mental model that is so ingrained in me that it immediately pops into my head when I see any representation of reality.
“The map of reality is not reality. Even the best maps are imperfect. That’s because they are reductions of what they represent. If a map were to represent the territory with perfect fidelity, it would no longer be a reduction and thus would no longer be useful to us. A map can also be a snapshot of a point in time, representing something that no longer exists. This is important to keep in mind as we think through problems and make better decisions.” — Farnam Street
And there is another mental model that fits the first one perfectly — Seeing the Front.
“One of the most valuable military tactics is the habit of “personally seeing the front” before making decisions – not always relying on advisors, maps, and reports, all of which can be either faulty or biased. The Map/Territory model illustrates the problem with not seeing the front, as does the incentive model. Leaders of any organization can generally benefit from seeing the front, as not only does it provide firsthand information, but it also tends to improve the quality of secondhand information.” — Farnam Street
What’s the lesson here? In this uncertain world we live in, it’s more important than ever for leaders to get out of their cozy ivory towers and smell the trenches.
Stay strong, Gus