If you’re stuck with a problem and are not sure how to fix it, you can use a Force Field Analysis to help improve the chances of achieving a successful outcome.
Force Field Analysis was created by Kurt Lewin in the 1940s. Kurt was a sociologist but the tool has since been successfully applied in business to small and large projects, organisational transformation and process management. It is widely recognised as is an influential development in the field of problem solving and looks at forces that are driving movement toward a goal (positive forces) and blocking movement toward a goal (negative forces).
Here’s how to do it:
1 Draw the framework below on a whiteboard or a sheet of paper. Articulate the problem you want to solve in the space between the two parallel lines in the centre of the framework.
2 On the left hand side of the Force Field, list all the forces that are currently applied, or could be applied to move the issue in a positive direction. Identify each force above an arrow – and add more arrows if you need to.
3 Do the same on the right hand side for forces that are currently in place or could be in place that are blocking you from driving the issue in a positive direction.
4 Now think of actions you could take to increase the impact of the positive forces and list them under each relevant arrow. Do the same for negative forces but this time identify ways you could decrease the impact of each force. Note that some of these actions may appear under several forces and even on both sides of the Force Field. This is OK and in fact these actions will probably be the most impactful things you can do to fix your problem.
5 Review the completed Force Field Analysis and the actions you have identified. These actions are unlikely to be equal in their impact so prioritise them and identify the top three or four. Quite often you will find the best actions may be those that reduce the negative forces rather than increase the positive forces so make sure you think about both sides of the equation.
6 Develop your actions into a One Page Plan to help ensure they are implemented. Find out how you can do this here.
Finally, below is a worked example of a Force Field Analysis that everyone can relate to. It was developed by James Atkins of Vantage Strategy and Marketing in Melbourne.
Have a go at using this tool next time you want to implement some change or fix a problem and contact us if you need help implementing change in your business.