The Great Mental Models

The Quality of Your Thinking depends on the Models in Your Head.
Leadership Insights to Provoke your Paradigm Shift
In Life & Business if you have a few blind spots, you are unlikely to Win. There is an old adage that says, “ To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail”. This is not the same in real life; the more the tools you’ve at disposal the more likely you’ll get job done successful.
This book by Shane Parrish helps in understanding the additional tools at disposal to improve your decision making and problem solving which I have summarized as 2Ts & I  

1. First Principles Thinking

There are always existing solutions to problems and many of us assume that these existing solutions that exists for a good reason will automatically solve our problems and so we apply them without questioning their assumption. This principle teaches us not to take existing solutions at the face value but, to interrogate and understand their rationale and come up with better enhanced solutions that will support your decision making; drill down and personalize your solutions.

Key steps here are:   Examine existing solutions; Test its assumptions; Enlarge or personalize your solution  

2. Second Order Thinking This challenges you to think beyond the outcome you are aiming at and consider the ripple effects of your decisions.   This is critical and really helps you to avoid disastrous or unintended consequences as a result of your decisions.  

Good example is if a leader at this period of COVID-19 makes a decision to recall all the staff back to work after a whole year working remotely with the aim of improving productivity, then the leaders decisions faces consequences such as; team virus exposure that may affect majority of team members who may fall sick and have more teams on sick off which eventually kills the productivity.  

Key: before implementing any solution, simulate the second order thinking to understand the ripple effects of your decision.
3. Inversion This enables the leader to try and solve the opposite problem first in order to have clarity of the steps to undertake to the desired outcome.   For example; If an organization wants to roll out a successful marketing campaign, they may simulate inversion to understand what would an unsuccessful campaign look like?

This would then help the teams to come up with steps to avoid an unsuccessful campaign that would enable them formulate proper steps for the desired outcome – which is a successful marketing campaign.  

Key lesson: Invert your outcome; solve the opposite problem; which leads to your desired outcome.

The QUALITY of your OUTCOME depends on the MENTAL MODELS in your HEAD:  

First Principle THINKING: Examine existing solution; Tests assumptions; understand underlying issues; Personalize your decisions.  

Second Order THINKING: Simulate your ripple effects to your decision; Create a solution to mitigate the effect; Make the final call  

Inversion   Understand your outcome; Solve the opposite problem; Make a final call.
Book Review: By Gilbert Ang’ana – Founder & CEO Accent Leadership Group;
Leadership Coach, Teacher, Speaker & Consultant!

Published by Coach Gilbert

I am Gilbert Ang'ana (Coach), the CEO/Founder of Accent Leadership Group. I am a Leadership Coach, Scholar and Practitioner with extensive experience in Corporate Leadership (15+ years). I am also an Award-winning Global Change Management Expert. I have worked with over 2000 leaders worldwide on various change management initiatives through Coaching, Training/Teaching, Speaking and Research. My purpose and that of my organisation are to Advance Leadership Advocacy in Africa and Beyond Through Coaching, Teaching & Research to Build a movement of Leaders whose Power of Influence will far Exceed the authority of their Position. Want to be part of this movement? Join our various programs at

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