(Extend one of those lines outside the box you have unconsciously drawn around the perimeter of those nine dots.) Thus, the moral of the nine-dot puzzle is that the approach that works is to unlearn that mental model whose very definition of the problem constitutes the problem. The problem-solving strategy is not to solve the puzzle, it is to “think outside the box.” For example, why do fewer than 10% of American corporations survive more than 20 years? According to Nystrom and Starbuck, the explanation is that managers get locked into “cognitive structures” (Nystrom and Starbuck, 1984). Fine. But most managers aren”t stupid, so how do they allow themselves to get locked in? What are the boxing-out mechanisms?