"All models are wrong, but some are useful" - how useful are the personality models you use?

communications pcm teamwork Oct 01, 2017


George Box was a British statistician who died in 2013 and wrote about this term in a number of his statistics articles and books in the latter part of the 20th century. However, whilst the phrase was developed during his work in statistics, his premise applies to all domains - a model is just a simplification of the real world to allow complicated or complex systems to be communicated. 

"Situational awareness is understanding what is going on around us."

Situational awareness is impacted by many factors such as previous experience (what is relevant to now), our task loading, our goals, our expectations (we often don't see what we aren't expecting to see) and many other factors. While it is easy to see what 'situational awareness' is, it isn't always easy to see how it works or the model's limitations when we use a simple description like this.

Something to consider with any model if it is to be widely used to explain complex problems.

  • The...
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NASA used PCM as part of their astronaut selection - why?

As part of the shuttle astronaut selection process in the late 1970s, candidate astronauts would face a number of assessments to ensure that they could deal with the mental and physical stresses involved in living and operating in high stress, close-proximity working conditions. The psychological assessments were managed by Dr Terry Maguire who was focused on the astronaut's ability to deal with their own and others' emotions and stresses and be able to communicate effectively. Miscommunication was known to lead to ineffective teamwork, and leadership and effective communication is adversely impacted by performance shaping factors such as stress and fatigue.  

One of these interviews was a revelation to Dr McGuire and occurred after he had invited Dr. Taibi Kahler to observe a number of assessments. Kahler, a psychologist from Hot Springs, Arkansas, had discovered a process to assess human interactions second by second and determine the productivity of the communication. The...

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Perception is the key to our interaction with others...

communications pcm Sep 15, 2017

"5 minutes early is on time. On time is late. Late is unacceptable."

"I don't mind the time issue, it is the broken commitments that I can't stand"

A recent post on Facebook from Forbes.com prompted this short article explaining the need to understand others' perceptions if communication is to be improved. Significant research has shown that miscommunication leads to poor performance, increased error and reduced morale, so why does it still happen?

My response to the Facebook posts was that I too used to get distressed when I was late or others were late for a meeting, but since completing some training and learning more about perceptions and culture, my view has tempered somewhat. I also highlighted that given the two responses above, one time-based and the other value-based, that 65% of the US population may respond differently depending on their value and perception of time, and the action of being late.

It doesn't mean that I don't try to be early, or that I don't get frustrated...

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