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Using Models to Stay Calm in Charged Situations

A Meeting With Conflict

When polarizing topics are discussed in meetings, it can turn into a fight. In these conflicts, where passions run high, people tend to confuse correlation with causation while determining the reason for the problem, or can have hindsight bias. They can also create evidence out of nothing or assume a maliciousness intent from the decision-makers.

Mental models are tools that can help us navigate through such challenging or confusing situations.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

Using Models to Stay Calm in Charged Situations

Using Models to Stay Calm in Charged Situations

https://fs.blog/2020/03/models-charged-situations/

fs.blog

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Key Ideas

A Meeting With Conflict

When polarizing topics are discussed in meetings, it can turn into a fight. In these conflicts, where passions run high, people tend to confuse correlation with causation while determining the reason for the problem, or can have hindsight bias. They can also create evidence out of nothing or assume a maliciousness intent from the decision-makers.

Mental models are tools that can help us navigate through such challenging or confusing situations.

Hanlon's Razor

This mental model states that most actions made by people need not be categorized as malicious or intentionally bad, but simply a sign of incompetence and acting out of fear.

Many poor decisions and actions are not intentional but due to ineptitude. By following this mental model, we untie ourselves from unnecessary negativity and work towards a solution.

Relativity

The mental model of relativity states that everyone's outlook, viewpoint and perspective are different from ours.

The same situation is looked in different ways by people, and understanding these variations can help us toward a meaningful dialogue with them. We can diffuse any inherent conflict by hearing out and identifying what we understand, making the other person feel listened to.

In a conflictual meeting

A few other mental models to keep in mind while in a meeting with conflict:

  • Probabilistic Thinking: Understanding the base information before evaluating the severity of the anomaly.
  • The law of Large Numbers: Statistical figures are more reliable in large sample sizes.
  • Correlation is not causation: If something is associated with a problem, it doesn't mean it is the cause of the problem.
  • Feedback Loop: Looking for cues in the real-time responses and behavioural changes on the other side, figuring out the next possible steps and solutions.

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