Mental models significantly define what you as business executive think about yourself.
Most of the time this influence of your mental models is subconscious and you are not aware of their huge impacts.
You do not question their validity, but proceed to act upon them just as if they were true.
All your actions, feelings, your attitiude, your behavior— even your abilities—are always consistent with your mental models.
When your mental models are well designed, which means they are adequate and useful for you in your personal and professional lives, then you have a deep sense of self-confidence and congruency.
You feel free to “be yourself” and to express yourself.
This is exactly what ancient philosophers wanted to express when they proclaimed
“Find yourself and become who you really are”.
As human being and especially as business executive you should explore your mental models continuously in order to increase your self-awareness and make good use of your mental models.
Your beliefs and your values significantly determine your attitude and your actions in your life. If you feel free to express this attitude and these actions creatively and with great self-confidence you are on a very good way to a fulfilled and purposeful private and professional life.
That’s the main reason why you should explore your mental models and learn about how they really work.
But why is this knowledge also of so great importance for you as a business executive?
Authenticity is the key
Well, this has to do with the most important ingredient of highly effective leadership: Authenticity. Let’s see what that means.
You as business executive lead other people. That’s your daily job.
You have an idea of where the journey of your team and your organization should go.
The only way you can take them with you on this journey is by influencing their mental models through communication because as we already know, human beings will only act according to their mental model of the world.
This communication process is not primarily a rational and logic argumentation of your personal vision and goals. This is a part of the communication process. But ist not the essential one.
The primary way of influencing the mental models of the people who are entrusted to you is by creating experiences that establish favorable conditions for people to adapt their models in a way that benefits your ideas.
No concept or presentation will change a single person.
And exactly here authenticity comes into play. Authenticity means that your whole verbal and non-verbal communication is in accordance with your mental models.
If this is not the case, you will feel uncomfortable and incongruent due to a so-called cognitive dissonance that always occurs when your actions and your beliefs and values are not in harmony with each other.
People recognize that. They feel that something is not okay and this is the reason they remain cautious and sceptical. No trust is built.
But if you walk the talk, each and every situation and communication between you and the people you are working with, becomes a great opportunity to create experiences that may induce the change you want to achieve.
This is the only and the most effective way to change the mental models of your subordinates in favor of your plans and visions.
“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
as Mahatma Gandhi put it.
Once you learn to succeed in changing the mental models of human beings with such kinds of indirect interventions based on authentic communication and sensible experiences, other things which were achnowledged as impossible before are now accomplished easily and without any strain.
This is one of the very crucial skills that you can learn in great leadership training programs.