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Four Steps to Change Mental Models/Mindsets_Running Head: Me
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Running Head: Mental Models and Mindsets

Mental Models and Mindsets

Team C: Michael Danner, Mysti Trainer, Angela Williams and Pat Vincent

Innovation, Design & Creativity for a Competitive Advantage OI/361

March 29, 2010

Doug Pacella


Toyota has been long known as a company that manufactures reliable cars. Their reputation was built upon years of quality manufacturing. The Toyota name grew because it was synonymous with quality, and as the brand grew stronger the company maintained loyal customers. It was a shock, then, when several accelerators began to stick to floor mats in several Toyota models. These performance issues became a public concern, especially as Toyota initially denied and played down these problems. On the surface, it may seem like there is nothing Toyota can do to restore its reputation. However, a return to the company's core mindset can make a difference.

Four Steps to Change Mental Models/Mindsets

Mental Models/Mindsets are part of our thinking. They are there even when we do not sense them; they are powerful, and determine what we see and do. If we leave them unchallenged, the world around us will change and our models/mindsets will become obsolete, forcing us to see the same opportunities, and achieve the same results. Shifting from one mental model to another will open possibilities, and spur thinking outside the box of our own mind. The four steps to change the mental models/mindsets are: a) recognizing the power and limits of the mental model, b) keeping the mental models relevant, c) overcoming inhibitors to change, and d) transforming the world (Wind, Crook, & Gunther, 2005).

Recognizing the power of these mental models will help us understand how the mindsets are shaping our world, and how those models are limiting or expanding our actions. Keeping them relevant will give the power to know when the change is necessary, allow us to observe the product or market in a different way, and simplify what is complex. Overcoming the inhibitors to change will make us have a new order and transform the world we see, developing new intuitions and changing our actions.

What Mindset would you like to change?

Recognizing the power and limits of the mental model would benefit Toyota and the current state of affairs that has affected so many innocent consumers and their victims. Change is inevitable and necessary in any industry, and although keeping up with the changing times and competing with others in the automobile industry is important, these variables should not eclipse the original mission and vision of Toyota. From a consulting perspective, our suggestion is for Toyota to change their mindset that expresses, according to Team C’s Benefits and Driver Proposal Paper (2010), “Their goal is to become the strongest and greenest automobile maker; their vision is to dominate the world’s automobile economy.”Toyota’s focus should not be on dominating the economy, strength, or being environmentally conscious at this point. Rather, Toyota should shift their concentration to internal operational ethics and manufacturing integrity. This mindset change will slowly, but carefully, lead them out of the questionable and irresponsible predicament in which they have found themselves. It will allow them to learn the lessons necessary to find a way to gain the trust of their loyal customers once again.

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