Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Building a Shared Mental Model to Rekindle Collaboration
8:01 AM Tuesday June 14, 2011
by Jason Green  

I concur that establishing what the author terms shared mental models at all levels of the corporation are essential for success. I believe it should start at the very top to establish an umbrella sense of reality that all  work underneath must be consistent with. What are the set of four or five questions you would ask to set the right mental model for your business group? Be sensitive to all the appropriate functions.
"That deadly confusion begins with a flawed mental model that fails to reflect reality but still serves as the basis for taking action. Like people in survival situations, the ability to develop an accurate mental model often separates successful companies from organizations that do not survive.So what exactly is a company's mental model? Simply put, a robust mental model eliminates internal confusion. The mental model is a framework that simplifies a potentially complicated strategy, allowing everyone in the organization to internalize the strategy and be guided by it.Great companies build and share their mental model internally in ways that enable managers and employees to independently make critical decisions day in and day out that are aligned with the strategy. Without a strong mental model strategy can become open to interpretation, decision making can become bogged down, or both can occur at once............The sales team prided itself on bringing in the biggest deals with huge volumes from these target customers. Their mental model was essentially, "Big customers, big volumes, big dollars".While this interpretation of the strategy seems valid, there was a fatal flaw: big customers with big print volumes also command big discounts...
.....A simple, but powerful exercise for building a shared mental model brought the cross-functional teams together. Using this approach, each function separately answered a series of key questions, including:Which customers are the most profitable?  How well aligned is our value proposition to their demands?  What differentiates our value proposition from competition? How will we compete and win?......Comparing the answers to these questions, developed from the perspective of each function, quickly revealed that each function was operating from its own radically different mental model. Sales and operations had very different views of the most profitable customers, with sales focused on volume and operations focused on quality.Working together, the teams identified a previously unrecognized "sweet spot" common to their most profitable print jobs. 

No comments: