Mental model/mindsets are a set of beliefs, connotations and descriptions formed by humans because of the experiences they have an influence in the thought process and actions, albeit within contracted channels. From observation of the surrounding environment, humans tend to create the model of things as they are in front of them. The very understanding of the portrayal of the world therefore causes the construction of an imperfectdepiction based on the knowledge collected from the world (Johnson-Laird, 2010).
The perceptions formed from the representations of what is perceived as reality helps in elucidating cause and effect to humans, consequently leading to the anticipation of particular results. This goes further to the connotation of meaning to events, ultimately inclining humans to a particular set of behavior and thinking (Merrifield, 2012). An important aspect of mental model is the fact that they provide stability even in the current state of constant change. The stability stems from the representation of truth, albeit disregarding what is false (Johnson-Laird, 2010). The very fact that mental models represent truth at the expense of anything false works to barricade us from ideas and realities that test or disregard beliefs deeply held in us.
In essence, therefore, mental models relegate humans to a comfort zone even in their existence as fuzzy and incomplete perceptions of the world as it is. The very nature of mental models however is distinctive in that each individual has their own inimitable set of mental mindset. The perception of the realm therefore differs in a major way among people, even in its simplest structure.
Vernon and Bud, as perceptive people, have fixated mindsets that confine them within the safety of the business as it is. Thus, while the human resource manager, through his open mindset, may see opportunity in expanding the business through product and service diversification, Vernon and Bud want to stick to their comfort zone. Even without trying, their fixated mindsets already see the expansion out of the core business is not a good idea (Vernon) and that the company is not strong enough to compete with existing companies that service the nonperishable foods market (Bud). Their mindset therefore prevents them from seeing what is false, that is expansion does not necessarily mean digressing from the company’s core business and that competition does not necessarily mean annihilating the mutual respect and alienation of long-term customers. It is also specifically false that transporting nonperishable goods in refrigerated trailers is inefficient. The fact is that, with space in the trailers, it is cost effective and profitable to the cfcompany to transport non-perishable goods. With their mental mindsets however, Vernon and Bud believe that the company should retain its core business model, structure and goods, even as the business world is rapidly inkling towards diversification of products and services.
Changing the mindsets of Vernon and Bud follows particular steps. According to Merrifield (2010), the procedure of changing mindsets begins with the recognition of the influence and limitations of the mindset. The second step involves testing of the mindset, especiallyrelative to the dynamic environment. By testing it, it is possible to find flaws and therefore generate new mental models (Merrifield, 2012). The third stepencompasses overcomingbarricades to transformation, which include infrastructure and the different established models of workers: Vernon and Bud. It is important for the management therefore to ensure that in planning to overhaul a system, employees with divergent views are brought on board for the next step. The concluding step involves the transformation of the firm into the new model and weaving it (firm) within the confines of the new system (Merrifield, 2012).
Influential to mindsets are forces that change the perception of each individual. This includes education, which is the basis on which the mental mindset lies. Education therefore shapes ones worldview, influencing the interaction of individuals, and more precisely confining it within individuals of similar background. Training is another force that shapes mindset, as it is specific on the development of a particular skill. Given its specificity, training is even more influential as it gives one the mandate in skills requisite for performing specific tasks.
Additionally, influence of others also impacts modelling the mindset. The philosophies and approaches to tackling problems of mentors tend to rub on the society and individuals, who then make these philosophies their own. Further, the perception and reception one gets, and the mindset towards them, especially for employers is also influenced by rewards and incentives. Both concrete and intangible rewards and incentives are powerful forces in shaping individual mindsets. The final and most influential force impelling mental models is personal experience. As a force, personal experience allows one to make adjustments, including novelty and creativity in generation and execution of ideas.
Among the most influential mental mindsets for Vernon and Bud is training. For these two, their training had confined them with a particular perspective—non-diversionfrom the core business and operating only within the confines of the company’s strength. Additionally, their personal experience influences them, having been with the company for more than 20 years and therefore difficulty in accepting any change in their normal routine.
Personal experience is among the most frequently used mindsets at the workplace. With a combination of both other people’s influence and personal experience, it becomes easier to work within the safety of well-known “tried and tested” ideas. For this matter therefore, decisions at the workplace tend to follow experienced gained from observation and data analysis at the workplace and similar situations. Although personal experience plays a major role in decision-making, it also draws from training, education and mentorship for not only leadership in human resource, but in creating efficient teams and improving employee turnover.
Mental models are influential to humans in a number of ways. They determine the reasoning and perception of individuals, as well as their point of view towards life. The five forces are influential in determining an individual’s mental mindset. Although difficult to change, transforming the mental model can be effective in turning around the fortunes of a company.The company’s mindset influences reinvention, profitability and variety. Changing the mental model may therefore be what a company needs to increase profitability.
Johnson-Laird, P. N. (2010). Mental Models and Human Reasoning.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 107(43):18243-18250
Merrifield, B. (2012). Renewing Our Business Mental Model. Chapel Hill, NC: Merrifield Consulting Group