Stuck in mind models

Last week I had an experience outside work, which I could relate to work. Finally I decided to share this in my Journal. Beside remaining posts in this category I decided to make this one public.

On Tuesday I had a discussion with club mates about training in swimming. In my city there are several swimming clubs combined together into an organization for supporting talent scouting. About ten years ago I noticed that the philosophy of my swimming club and the philosophy of the clubs around us differ in one particular point. Most of the other swimming clubs following the rule to have training lanes separated according to the age of the trainees. From 6-8 the kids shall learn how to start swimming, from 7-9 they learn back stroke beside breast stroke (which they started with), and so on.

Our local swimming club follows another philosophy. We pretty much believe that each step needs to be taken regardless of the age of the trainee, but based on his achievements so far. A quick learner at the age of 12 can quickly move forward to the fastest swimmers, and a more slowly learner might be trapped on one training lane for two years or longer.

Jerry Weinberg taught me to be aware of the threat/reward model of modern psychology. Therefore I won’t argue one over the other. Instead I say that there are some advantages to one form of teaching swimming and organizing a swimming club (technically) over the over and vice versa. The point I would like to raise here, is that you may get stuck when sticking too much with one model. This one I noticed in the discussion we had last week. There were several pleads during the discussion, where I could not understand the argumentation, since I had a different model in mind. Basically I realized that the other parties seemed to be trapped in their model, that they did not see the problem. Yes, this is an occurrence of the No-problem syndrome.

How does this hold to work? Currently I need to prepare a discussion at work, where one of my colleague has a model of how stuff works in mind and I have another one – a different one. We tried to get an approach already last year, but soon got stuck in the discussion on a more personal level. Our superior decided by then to refuse the discussions and have both parties follow their model. During the retrospective of one of our projects the point was raised to stick to one approach to exchange team members from both groups more easily. I take this point very seriously, but based on the past year struggle to prepare for this. Both of us seem to be stuck in their mind model and do not see the solution through copulation. While reading through “Becoming a Technical Leader” I already realized this one, and decided to prepare a spike solution to have a better basis for further discussions at hand.

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