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Tuesday, 19 November 2013 19:06

Mental Model/ Mindsets Featured

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Mental Model/ Mindsets

                 Mental model refers to how a person’s thought processes works (Davidson & Weltz, 1999). It refers to paradigms that affect how individual interpret information and derive meaning from their environment. They are entrenched images on how systems are supposed to work, which limit people to a given way of thinking and acting. Mindset refers to perceptions, values, notions, attitudes or dispositions that affect how people interpret events that take place around them (Davidson & Weltz, 1999). Mental model/ mindsets play a significant role in affecting the reasoning, cognition and decision making abilities of individuals. Thus, mental models and mindsets have substantial influence on the behavior and actions of individuals. People use their mindset to filter information and thus develop selective thoughts and perception of issues.

 Forces that Influence Mental Model/ Mindsets

  1. Personal experiences

There are five main forces that influence a person mental models and mindsets. Personal experience is one of these forces (Griffin, 2011). Individuals build perceptions and beliefs concerning the world based on their personal experiences. For example, Vernon and Bud have a long experience in dealing with perishable goods. This is why they are stuck to the idea that AAA should only concentrate on perishable goods. This force suggests that a mindset that comprises of vast information is difficult to change as compared to a mindset that comprises of little information. For instance, it would be easier to convince new employees to support the proposed expansion than to convince experienced employees such as Vernon and Bud.

  1. Reward

Mental models and mindset are also influenced by reward (Griffin, 2011). Individuals are likely to support a given way of thinking or doing things when their stand to benefit. The reward acts as reinforcement for people to support a given idea. Reward may be of different forms including; money, promotion, acceptance, sense of belonging and recognition. Vernon and Bud reluctance to accept the proposed expansion may be attributed to lack of incentives.

  1. Other people influence

Mental models and mindsets are also influenced by interaction with other people (Griffin, 2011). People tend to acquire the values, beliefs and perception of people whom they interact. The acquire values and belief interact with existing value resulting in the establishing of unique mindsets and mental models. Vernon and Bud may have interacted with people who are risk averse leading to the development of low risk propensity.

  1. Education

Education is also a significant force that influences people’s mind models and mindsets (Griffin, 2011). Education systems equip people with vast knowledge and skills in various disciplines thus affecting their understanding of the world. People spend over 10 years in basic education institution, and thus education plays a significant role in shaping their mindset. Individuals also join the education system at a young age, and thus the things learnt in this system become deeply entrenched.  The education system may have encouraged Vernon and Bud to develop extra caution while making decisions.

  1. Training

Training is similar to education but takes place at vocational level (Griffin, 2011). Training is also specific in terms of skills that it imparts to students. Training may reinforce different mindset depending on the training program, training institution, instructors and even the place of training. The training environment for Vernon and Bud may have discouraged risk taking and emphasized on caution.

Changing Mental Models/ Mindsets

Mental models and mindsets can be changed using four steps. Recognizing the power of these mental models and mindsets is the first step (Crook & Wind, 2006). It is paramount for one to understand the mental model and mindsets, as well as, how these affect his thinking and action. One should also understand how these models limits their opportunities or magnifies their possibilities. Vernon and Bud should be assisted to understand their mental models. Demonstrating to Vernon and Bud how mindset can influence their opportunities will make them soften their stance.  

Testing the mental models and mindset against changes within the environment is the second step (Crook & Wind, 2006). It is paramount for one to ensure that his mindset and mental models are relevant to the prevailing environment. Thus, Vernon and Bud should be encouraged to reassess their mental model against changes within the business environment. Bud and Vernon should be enlightened about changes that have occured within the business environment. The environment has become competitive and extremely dynamic and thus making tradition model of thinking irrelevant.

 Overcoming inhibitors to change is the third step (Crook & Wind, 2006). The change agent needs to identify factors that barring an individual from shifting his mindset. Mental models and mindsets are difficult to change because they are deeply entrenched into people’s mind. The models create a feeling of familiarity and certainty making it difficult to change them. The change agent needs to ensure that these barriers are overcome. Bud and Vernon can be assisted to overcome change barriers by introducing new paradigms that will challenge existing paradigms.

The final step in the process of changing mind models is to transform to the new mental model and mindset (Crook & Wind, 2006). Bud and Vernon should be encouraged to apply the new mental models and mindset in order to reinforce these new models. The model should be evaluated on a continual basis to ensure that they remain relevant and effective.

 My Most Commonly Used Mindset

            My most commonly used mindset is the mindset of success. I am always determined to succeed. The mindset of success has made me open to new perspectives and ideas. This is because I understand that success can only be realized through continual enhancement of skills and ability and learning new ideas. The mindset of success also encourages me to identify opportunities even amidst obstacles. Acquiring an optimistic outlook has always helped to overcome challenges and make optimal use of opportunities.


Crook C. & Wind J. (2006). Changing Mental Models in Uncontrollable World. April 22, 2013.

Davidson M. & weltz J. (1999). Mental Models and Usability. April 22, 2013.

Griffin J. (2011). Creative Intelligence. April 22, 2013.">


Last modified on Tuesday, 19 November 2013 19:49
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