Decision Making & Mental Models

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Mental Models and Decision Making


Motion vs Action article. Is there a difference between motion and action?


More nerding out on mental models. This podcast talks about the Dunning Kruger Effect. It is a must-listen!


Do you find yourself not sure of what to do often?


James 1:5

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given to him

Mental Models and Making Decisions


Mental models help us make sense of the world and help us make better decisions. I have not found a mental model’s book for coaches, so I will connect mental models and coaching.

Inverse Thinking
Instead of focusing your thoughts on what you want to happen, focus your thoughts on what you don’t want to happen. For example, instead of listing attributes that would make a great recruit, list attributes that would make a terrible recruit. Instead of focusing on what you want, focus on what to avoid. One question to ask is “What wins games?” and the inverse is “What loses games?” Avoid those and you will increase your chances of winning. I actually think asking both questions is wise.

Boiling Frog
Gradual change can be hard to perceive or react to. Things have a slow fade. Examples of this are: The culture of your program, that you have worked so hard on, slowly fades to an unhealthy culture. Work ethic incrementally decreases as a student-athlete gets older. We rarely see the slow fade. It takes a leader who is always keeping the temperature of his/her team and not assuming things to see the slow fade.

Pareto Principle
80% of your results come from 20% of your work or output. Another way to talk about this is high-value activities. What are the highest value activities you do? Chances are, those activities produce 80% of your results. Figure out the 20% (high-value activities) and get after it! This ties into the Eisenhower Matrix and the “working in” vs “working on” that I have referenced several times. Too often we get hung up on busy work and not work that produces the most results.

Parkinson’s Law
Work will expand to the time you a lot for it. So, if you have a meeting set for one hour… there is a great chance you will fill up that hour. If you carve out two hours to do something, regardless of how long it really should take, it will fill up that time. Allot 45 minutes and chances are you will accomplish everything in 45 minutes. Put a limit to meetings, practices, etc. Stop wasting time.

A physical object resistance to changing its current state of motion. For example, in a coach’s world, it is a staff member or athlete who has some long-held beliefs. The more inertia they have the harder it is to change their ‘direction’. This inertia will crush growth and improvement.

Find your own flaws
Instead of looking for things you do well, also spend time deeply investigating what you, your staff, or team does poorly. As one former coach called it “self-scout”. It is too easy to have confirmation bias. We think we are doing good… so we look for information that proves we are doing good. When all along there are signs where we need to improve but we miss those as we look for confirmation of our excellence.

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Travis Wyckoff