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This paper will describe the four steps to change the mental models of Beadworks. The first step is to recognize the power and limits of the models. The second step is to test the relevance of the mental models against changing environment and to generate new models. The third step is to overcome inhibitors such as lack of information, lack of trust, desire to hold on to old patterns, and the expectations of the others. The final step is to implement the model, assess the model and continuously strengthen the model (Crook, Wind, Gunther, 2005, p. xxiv).
Beadworks has taken strategic planning internally and implemented a big change recently. Beadworks purchased Austin Hamilton (a beads and jewelry making supplier) to maximize customer profiling. In addition, before and after purchasing Austin Hamilton (AH), Beadworks had to recognize the power and limits of a mental model for maximizing profits. “Mental models are representations in the mind of real or imaginary situations. Scientists sometimes use the term “mental model” as a synonym for “mental representation”, but it has a narrower referent in the case of the theory of thinking and reasoning” (Kenneth Craik, 1945). Taking the theory of thinking, the owner of Beadworks had a mental model of having access to more clientele through the Austin Hamilton purchase earlier in 2008.
A mental model represents a possibility. Mental models can also be constructed by imagination, perception and knowledge of discovery. Beadworks recognized opportunity with AH and succeeded to make the most mental models and apply them to grasp the potential of the new products Beadworks can use. “Usability is strongly tied to the extent to which a user’s mental model matches and predicts the action of a system.” (Nielsen, 1993). Thus, a way to explain Beadworks’ idea to purchase AH prior to actually purchasing it, was determine the outcome. A true statement that would show Beadworks more benefits in the final outcomes of obtaining another business would be; more customers were accessible to see the products Beadworks offered. Moreover, new products were introduced with innovational designs. Not to mention, long-term goals were made short-term due to higher level of supply and demand.
After becoming familiar with mental models, it is important to understand the need of change and relevance. A mental model or mindset can be similar to a decision making process where it is crucial to formulate solutions and identify alternatives. In this case, it can be compared to the process where the relevance of mental models is compared to the changing environment. From this, the next step is to create new models and develop an integrated portfolio of mental models or mindsets. Such decisions can help Beadworks greatly by realizing that there can be countless solutions or approaches to the same situation.
“All growth is a leap in the dark, a spontaneous, unpremeditated act without benefit of experience” (Miller, 1960). The desire for change of mental models or mindsets can help generate greater success in a customer-centric mindset. Testing new approaches will reduce anti-growth correcting the common mistake of being outdated and obsolete. Only recently has Beadworks felt the ongoing pressure to test new approaches of mental models. The realization for need of innovation and competitive advantage has given the initiative for Beadworks to try new things.
Once the relevance of the mental models is tested against the external factors which obstruct change then the internal factors are required to be tested. There a various internal factors such as lack of information, lack of trust, the desire to hold on to old patterns and the expectations of the others (Crook, Wind, Gunther, 2005, p. xxiv). One of the biggest challenges for Beadworks is to gather information and stay current on fashion and trends. The lack of information about the continuous updating fashion can result in loss in sales and loss in market share for the organization. One of the best ways to stay in business is to promote fashion with available products in hand and being innovative.
However, this is not possible if an organization carries the desire to hold on to the old patterns. The designs or patterns require continuous change to stay with market trends. Beadworks have built trust amongst its customers in last few years by offering new products year after year. The only challenge now is to keep up the trust for its customers and its employees. Beadwork was able to take the challenge by acquiring the Austin Hamilton and offering better service to its customers with an option of direct purchase.
When Beadworks purchased Austin Hamilton, we soon realized that the business model was based on weekly specials only. Austin Hamilton would only generate sales if a weekly flyer was sent out promoting a certain product or a certain discount if a specific amount of goods are purchased. This model had to be changed from revenue generated by weekly sales and promotions to a more stable business model where revenue is generated on a regular basis. The previous model worked fairly well for previous owner but with the transition to new ownership, sales were not stable and Beadworks was not accustomed to weekly promotions. Austin Hamilton products were over priced and that is why there would be weekly promotions, so customers would feel that they are saving money each week. To slowly transition to a new model, Beadworks had to modify the model for Austin Hamilton and involved a lot of trial and error.
This paper described the four steps to change the mental models in Beadworks. The four steps were recognize, test, overcome, and implement the mindset models. Beadworks followed the four steps as discussed above in the paper successfully. At the end, the developed model was implemented and tested for errors and trials.
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Yoram (Jerry ) Wind and Colin Crook, with Robert Gunther. The Power of Impossible Thinking: Transform the Business of Your Life and the Life of Your Business, Prentice-Hall, 2005