Change is an everyday occurrence in life. Individuals are not always in agreement with change because of their mental models or mindsets. These terms describe the brain processes to make sense of what is happening in an individual’s environment. This poses a challenge for organizations because some creative ideas may be the steppingstones for progress, success, or provide the competitive edge. AAA Transportation in Waukegan, Wisconsin; an interstate trucking company specializing in transporting wholesale produce in climate controlled trailers is facing reluctance in the proposed change in services offered by the new owner. As a human resources (HR) representative the task is to get two of their reluctant employees to join their team.
This paper will cover mental model mindsets and the impacts, the four steps to change and their uses, the five forces of influence and affects, and finally, commonly used mental model mindsets that guide decision-making and influence. The new owners want to add delivery of nonperishable products that includes canned foods, to their delivery routes because they believe that many of the routes do not require a full load on the trucks, and there is room to add nonperishable goods at a lower rate for customers. The two coworkers, Vernon, and Bud have difficulty accepting the changes. Vernon is the company driver’s supervisor, and Bud works in the offices. Both employees have been with the company for more than 20 years, and the employees are influenced by them. Further, management wants to keep their employees and influence them to agree with the changes.
Changing mental models/mindsets
In this situation convincing Vernon and Bud to join in the organizations efforts seem difficult. Vernon’s stance on the change is it not a good idea to expand out of their core business, and Bud thinks that AAA is not strong enough to compete with existing businesses that are already dealing with nonperishable to include the risks of losing customers. These mental barriers arose because of uncertainties or fear. Four steps to changing mental models or mindsets may help in this situation. 1. Understand the power of and limits of mental models
2. Test the relevance of mental models against the changing environment 3. Overcome inhibitors to change by reshaping the infrastructure and thinking of others 4. Transform and individual’s world by acting quickly upon the new models, experimenting constantly, and applying a process continuously to assess and strengthen models. These steps are derived from “The Power of Impossible Thinking,” and they are tools to aid in making impossible thinking possible (Wind, Crook, & Gunther, 2005). Each person has her or her own mindsets; this comes from the influences from childhood through adolescence, and adulthood. This is part of step one in understanding the power of and limits. Vernon and Bud are resistant to change, and they need to understand that change is for the good of the company and the status quo breeds failure. Step two tests if Vernon and Bud’s mindset or models fit in the organization.
They do not want to move forward based on their assumptions and need to understand that they are valuable employees with 20 years at the company. This step creates an opportunity to remind them of the successful changes thus far, and they must change with the environment to remain competitive Step three covers the notion that they do not represent the entire organization in their beliefs, even-though, they have influences on their fellow employees who may want to participate in the changes. They need to be open-minded and willing to think of others and stop thinking of self and their experiences. Finally, step four involves experimentation. Management should accomplish research on the changes in terms of funding, raw materials, products, etc. to ensure that the change in their strategy is feasible. A dry-run with the individuals who have doubt with feedback from their current and potential customers may change their mindset, especially if the proposed change brings positive feedback from other employees to strengthen the company’s new service idea.
The influential forces that are affecting Vernon and Bud are personality (genetics), education, influence of others, rewards, and incentives, and personal experience (Wind, Crook, & Gunther, 2005). Each of these has left an impression on the mindset of these employees. An individual’s personality is who they are and what they do in terms of the chemical reactions in the brain. However, the other influences are what shape the persons mindset. Education is the molding of the mind in terms of how the educator views the world and the student accepts or translates it to fit their own understanding. In relation to training, it is a systematic approach to dealing with change and transition. In the case of Vernon and Bud, they, may have been taught that to be cautious when uncertainty arises. This may have sharpened their critical-thinking skills providing the ability to focus on what their priorities are instead of the organizations (Rowe, 2004).
Mentors, expert, family, and friends, and society have a major influence because of their experiences. Different cultures have different approaches in dealing with situations or decision-making and sometimes this poses a challenge when an individual is put in a similar situation in the work environment. An example as in the adage “women should be barefoot and pregnant” These employees may have grown up during this era, and a female coworker driving a forklift, performing maintenance on a vehicle may have an affect on his or her mindset. Rewards and incentives often influence adaptation to change because most individuals enjoy the experience of financial gain or recognition for helping their organization achieve their goals, therefore they go they will go extra mile. Finally, personal experiences sums up the education, influence of others, and rewards, and incentives. This is the creation of their own styles based on these forces.
There may have been a situation at AAA Transportation which they have tried to adapt another idea, and it failed causing disagreements, loss of employees, or decreased the morale of the organization. As the HR representative in the workplace the most commonly used mental model mindset is the personal experience that includes the forces mentioned. As an individual with a military background, extensive travel, influences from others, and stringent training and education, decision-making has to be approached with care. This is done by using personal experience and analyzing the successes and failures with available resources from the Internet, and from subject matter experts. This information is transformed into ethical and creative thoughts on how to deal with any given situation.
It is often difficult to change the mindset of individuals who has a long-term relationship with an organization reluctant to change. AAA Transportation wants to move forward with their proposed idea, and examples of the four steps to changing mental model mindsets and the five forces that influence them have been provided to the management team. It is the responsibility of management to determine if they should keep Vernon and Bud as employees. They have too much influence on others and management needs to take control. Other employees may be in agreement with the change.
Rowe, A. J. (2004). Creative intelligence: Discovering the innovative potential in ourselves and others. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education. Wind, Y. J., Crook, C., & Gunther, R. (2005). The Power of Impossible Thinking: Transform the Business of Your Life and the Life of Your Business. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.