Article PDF: 2.2.2 Mental Models

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Five rules detailing how mental models for comparison simplify decision-making.

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This article explores how we must have certain mental models to make good decisions. Having a good contact network brings us better information, but that information must be converted into decisions. At the front-lines of decision-making, new situations are constantly arising. Experts and amateurs use completely different models for making decisions about these situations. Amateurs try to reason their way through situations, reacting slowly and, usually, incorrectly. Experts, in contrast, compare the current situation with a large, but finite set of common situations to choose the best course of action.

As the research always shows us, experts are able to make the right decisions almost instantly from mental models. Given the complex dynamics of competitive environments, simply picking through the information and putting together a plan is virtually impossible. When we through in the problem of limited time, quickly knowing the appropriate response seems impossible. The challenge is understanding how experts work their magic.