Communication, understanding and decision-making – mental models

If you want to bring about improvement and change in a law department, understand “mental models.” A mental model is the framework from which someone perceives and understands the world. For example, someone’s model of a law department might be that of a smoothly ticking clock, or perhaps a jungle free-for-all, or an academic refuge for thinkers.

All general counsel have several mental models about the effective operation of the law department. Few of them, though, can fully articulate their mental models.

If managers can articulate even portions of their internal model, it can help them be more flexible in their thinking of alternatives to the status quo, objectively assess alternative arrangements, wide the scope of their thinking, and define what they perceive to be key components.

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