Mental Models: Value Attribution


How might this apply to great teams and cultures?

Our behavior is a function of our perceptions. More specifically, when we observe others behave in a certain way, we ask ourselves a fundamental question: Why? Why did they fail to meet the deadline? Why did they get the promotion? Why did a manager or mentor help you when you needed it?

The answer we give is the key to understanding our subsequent behavior. If you believe that a mentor helped you because they are a nice person, your action will be different from your response if you think that they helped you because your boss pressured him to.

How might this apply to your business?

“Cost” may be monetary or an investment of time. Is your product or service priced accordingly? What items can you withhold until they are earned—perhaps a new feature or privileges? On pricing pages, offer a range of packages and highlight—or at least offer—a more expensive one than you think most customers would choose.


A colleague failed to meet a deadline. Do you invest in them and help them finish their work? Do you give them the benefit of the doubt and place the blame on the difficulty of the project? Or do you think that they are irresponsible? Reflect on your responses and understand what they say about your perspective.

See Also

Story, Framing, Anchoring & Adjustment, Limited Access


In the whirl of our day-to-day interactions, it’s all too easy to forget the nuances that distinguish great teams, great cultures, and great products/services.

Mental Model Flash Cards bring together insights from psychology into an easy reference and brainstorming tool. Each card describes one insight into human behavior and suggests ways to apply this to your teams as well as the design of your products and services.