Force Field Analysis
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What is Force Field Analysis
What is Force Field Analysis and how do we use one of the great change management tools for managing change in the workplace and for achieving successful organizational change management strategies?
Well just about anyone who knows what is force field analysis will say that it works as one of the effective change management tools used as part of the organizational change process and business improvement initiatives.
Of the many possible change management methodologies available, as a change management consultant we train clients to use the force field analysis tool to bring the project enablers and restraining forces out into the open.
When managing change in the workplace we use force field analysis to assign actions to required activities and to get important things done. It is also one of the great change management tools for achieving effective communication in the workplace and effective business meetings.
So let's begin looking at force field analysis, 'a great change management tool!'
How do we identify, sort through and deal with the forces that are working for and against us when we are trying to implement any type of change in the workplace?
Imagine now we are doing a project implementation. What are the aspects of the business, people of influence, the decision makers, and the systems and processes which are driving and enabling the project to be successful? And who and what are the aspects that are restraining or disabling the project?
Generally, regardless of what it is, improved infrastructure, new processes, people, or systems, strategies, and so on, there will be those who want things to remain the same (keep the status quo) and those who are pushing for change. Generally we find ourselves in a negative situation for the business, with these two forces working against each other.
As change agents and owners of an improvement opportunity we want to reduce or eliminate the restraining and disabling forces and we want to strengthen the enablers, the forces that are helping us.
Force field analysis is a change management tool we use to help us do this.
Using the force field analysis change management tool helps us to achieve successful organizational change by helping us identify and deal with the various forces, influences and situations that are working for and against us.
By continually using the tool as part of the change management process it helps us to move through the various project management phases with a positive momentum to implementation success.
Force Field Analysis Diagram - with Action Plan Template
The force field diagram is T shaped with enabling forces listed down the left side, and restraining forces listed down the right side.
Arrows face into the center line to the appointed strength score of the enabling and restraining forces.
An important purpose for using the force field diagram is to assist the change owner, and the people involved to visualize the forces and there strengths, to visually analyze and prioritize them and to generate action items.
It is common to see this tool used with the goal, plan or action written in the centre between the arrows. Though based on my applied experiences as a management consultant, I find it is better to write the change proposal and meeting purpose at the top of the page, and to focus on that. I have observed meetings where people write multiple proposals and goals down the centre of the force field diagram, then lose clear direction and focus away from achieving any one key aspect, and the meetings have become less effective.
BENEFITS of doing a Force Field Analysis
Force Field Analysis Template - for Effective Business Meetings
The proposal may be to install new technology on the factory floor.
The purpose may be to identify issues that are foreseen will effect the installation and to compile a list of actions to minimize or eliminate the issues.
How To Do a Force Field Analysis
Force Field Analysis Steps
Importantly, if individuals themselves are not completing their actions, and do not have appropriate feedback for the group then it may be identified they are themselves a disabling force and this should need to be addressed.
Important note for Force Field Analysis Meetings
On several occasions as a management consultant I have observed force field analysis meetings. In some instances they began firstly by recognizing the required attendees who had not attended. With further investigation these instances highlighted to the other members of the group, a restraining force.
When actions were not being completed and no feedback was provided to the group at the appropriate time, the individuals were demonstrating their resistance to change.
These issues are barriers to organizational change that the force field analysis process will benefit by helping to bring to the surface.
Various problem solving techniques and problem solving exercises for dealing with change and for managing resistance to change that we undertook at that time included familiarizing them with what the future will be like, and focusing on support points. In this way we reduced the resistance and strengthen the change support.
Force Field Analysis Video
This video provides a detailed explanation of force field analysis and how to do it, a brief summary of Kurt Lewin and very briefly some background to the Kurt Lewin methods theories and applied psychology.
Summary of Kurt Lewin Force Field Analysis
Force field analysis was developed among the broad spectrum of the Kurt Lewin methods theories psychological and scientific research studies of the early 1900's. In the 21st century this change management tool remains a valuable resource for your business.
Undertaking force field analysis delivers benefits that strengthen the chances of achieving successful organizational change.
If force field analysis is applied together with the thinking behind the Kurt Lewin 3 phases change management model of 'unfreeze, change, freeze', the substance of an organizations approach to the change management process can also be further enhanced.
Read here for a summary of Kurt Lewin change theory and the Kurt Lewin 3 phases change management model.
The Kurt Lewin force field analysis is often found incorrectly referred to and incorrectly spelt forcefield analysis or the forcefields change management tool, or forcefields analysis.
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