View profile

🦉 10x curiosity - 12 Mental models I frequently draw on


🦉 10x curiosity

August 7 · Issue #258 · View online

🦉 A weekly sample of links that made me think 🤔

Having written and read over a wide range of topics over the years there are a series of mental models and hacks that I continue to come back to.
Meta Summaries — A grand collection

12 Top mental models
Survivorship Bias — We see this “Surviving” population as somehow special when in actual fact it might have got there through no more than sheer ass.
We get caught out by survivorship bias in all sorts of contexts. Our retirement fund performance; the unicorn business; the winning football team. Frequently we ascribe a lot of significance to the last one standing, studying it closely and copying their every action. This can lead to genuine insights and performance improvements, but it can also lead us astray as there is a fair chance that the leader is there through luck — someone has to be on top after all!
“This goes on all your creative life: always showing new work, always being compared to others.” What’s the answer? “It’s simple. Stay on the bus. Stay on the fucking bus.”
Until it sticks… Turning up every day… — Engineers can learn a lot from artists. Quality work over a career doesn’t come from chasing short term fires but rather the discipline of turning up every day and just starting.
WRAP Model in Decision Making :
W — Widen your Options
R — Reality test your assumptions
A — Attain Distance
P — Prepare to be wrong or Right
Systems for knowledge worker excellence — Todd Henry and Cal Newport regularly post on developing systems to use as knowledge workers to help you develop a creative rhythm and consistently deliver better work.
FRESH” framework outlined by Todd Henry in his book “Accidental Creative”:
  1. Focus: end with the beginning in mind.
  2. Relationships: close an open loop.
  3. Energy: prune something.
  4. Stimuli: set time to get inspired.
  5. Hours: engage in idea time.
Black Box Thinking (BBT) can be summarised in one, deceptively simple sentence: learning from mistakes. This is the methodology of science, which has changed the world precisely because it is constantly updating its theories in the light of their failures. In a complex world, failure is inevitable. The question is: do we learn, or do we conceal and self-justify?
The OODA Loop — Getting ahead of your competition
O: Observe: collect the data. Figure out exactly where you are, what’s happening.
O: Orient: analyze/synthesize the data to form an accurate picture.
D: Decide: select an action from possible options
A: Action: execute the action, and return to step (1)
The genius of Boyd’s idea is that it shows that speed and agility are not about physical reflexes — they’re really about information processing. They’re about building more/better feedback loops. The more high-quality OODA loops you make, the faster you get.
Know your Domain — The Cynefin Framework
borchardt cynefin fly-through_2021 on Vimeo
Leaders who try to impose order in a complex context will fail, but those who set the stage, step back a bit, allow patterns to emerge, and determine which ones are desirable will succeed.
  • Knowledge Gap — The difference between what we would like to know and what we actually know
  • Alignment Gap — The difference between what we want people to do and what they actually do
  • Effects Gap — the difference between what we expect our actions to achieve and what they actually achieve
Theory of Constraints — The Goal — To maximise the production capacity of the system you need to maximise the throughput at the bottleneck.
  • Goldratt develops a 5 step process :
  1. Identify the constraint
  2. Optimize the constraint
  3. Subordinate everything else to the constraint
  4. Elevate the constraint
  5. Return to step 1 — Do not let inertia become the constraint.
Any improvement not at the constraint is an illusion
Serendipity and the Adjacent Possible — Why do many great ideas get discovered at almost the same time? How can you cultivate serendipity and move into the adjacent possible with your work? need to develop specialised skills to get to the edge of possibility, for it is here that you can begin to explore the really interesting work that will make a difference in the world. It is a lot of hard deliberate work to get there — that is why not many people do it. But if you do it will set you apart and make you stand out in the world.
Most people simply lack the comfort with discomfort required to tackle really hard things.
At some point, in other words, there’s no way getting around the necessity to clear your calendar, shut down your phone, and spend several hard days trying to make sense of the damn proof.
Boundaries of failure — Rasmussen’s model of how accidents happen.
Rasmussen developed a model that helps conceptualise this. It has three boundaries, an economic, workload and acceptable performance boundary.
The economic boundary describes the operating envelope in which a business is profitable. If the lights are on the you are inside the economic boundary but there is always pressure to cut costs and do more here.
The performance boundary reflects the human capacity in the system. Human tendency is always to minimise the amount of work we want to do — this is taking shortcuts. Often this is required purely to survive as there is always more work than can be completed.
Both of these push the operating point towards the boundary of acceptable performance. This might be a personal or process safety boundary; or equipment performance.
If you cross the boundary of acceptable performance then the natural response is to push back, often aggressively against the other boundaries.
Let me know what you think? I’d love your feedback. If you haven’t already then sign up for a weekly dose just like this.
Get in touch… —
More like this from 10x Curiosity
Links that made me think...
Toxic leaders and Wicked Problems - by Susan Broomhall
Good Managers Write Good | Stay SaaSy
TBM 28/52: First Focus. Then Simplify - by John Cutler
Did you enjoy this issue?
In order to unsubscribe, click here.
If you were forwarded this newsletter and you like it, you can subscribe here.
Powered by Revue