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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. 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? 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. 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. 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.
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. By using the force field analysis change management tool early in the change management process it helps us to weigh up the 'for's and against' and the importance of these factors to decide whether a plan is worth implementing.
The Kurt Lewin force field analysis change management tool (developed by Kurt Lewin) benefits us by helping us identify challenges that lie ahead so that we can plan to strengthen the forces supporting the decision and take the necessary steps to reduce or eliminate the forces apposing it. Force field analysis benefits supervisors, team leaders, managers, and agents of change by helping them to characterize the nature of the change. Doing a force field analysis helps to provide an idea of the timeline required, and additional resource requirements that may be necessary to drive the project through to completion. If skills are restraining the project this analysis can help identify the training required.
If systems are not supportive, specialist can use this change management tool to identify where re-design of the systems is necessary. Using the force field diagram as a visual aid helps simplify communication and to reduce communication barriers within a group setting.
It is a great change management tool for using in team based projects, when attempting to identify issues and reduce resistance to change. If people of influence are not supporting the change initiatives this analysis benefits us by helping to open the dialogue, to work out what the issues are. Using the force field diagram assists the group in developing an understanding among all the groups members of the opinions and the concerns associated with the situation.
In instances where there is more than one person responsible for successful implementation of the change, benefits include it helping us to identify those sources of power and influence that are effecting the implementation, so then the people involved can determine how effective they themselves may be in being able to get the change through to successful completion, in consideration of the others responsible. Force field analysis benefits it uses as one of the positively focused problem solving exercises when dealing with resistance to change when managing change in the workplace. 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. Then begin a brainstorming process to list all the forces down the left hand side that are enabling and supporting the proposal. Brainstorm questions such as which restraining force can we reduce or eliminate by making a process improvement.
Then cross out the forces that no-body has any control over, or cannot influence or change. Then (depending on the size of the group and time line until the next meeting, etc) priorities the top 3 to 5 most disabling forces and most supporting forces. Focus on removing or mitigating the disablers first, while ensuring the benefits of any action taken will outweigh the total costs. Then on the action plan template document the actions that are required to be completed to meet the proposed change.
Assign an individual as the chairperson for the meeting to maintain the list of forces raised, the action list, and the actions that have been successful, unsuccessful or that still remain the same.
By continuing the process the disabling forces will be reducing, and the enabling forces will be the same or increasing.
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. On several occasions as a management consultant I have observed force field analysis meetings.
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. 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.
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. 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. Implementing a continual organizational change process reduces the cost of changing, enables companies to implement changes faster, improves change results, and helps create a high performance business! Some change agents may think of the organizational change process as being very similar to the John Kotter8 Steps change management model. As a change management consultant I suggest to you there is a more 'effective change management' approach for ensuring your organizations goals are achieved! So why have I outlined the organizational change process below in a series of steps similar to the John Kotter change management model? The reason is, I am using the steps below is to demonstrate that the organizational change process may have key milestones or 'boxes to tick', to ensure we are covering necessary things and heading in the right direction. For your organization to achieve long-term sustainable results from its change management activities, for it to be the best it possibly can, the process must be implemented as a continuing management operating process!
What I believe is that to be a top performing organization firms need to maintain a regular routine process that involves continual review, to continually improve and continually stay ahead.
In short, the organizational change process starts, goes through a series of steps, achieves an outcome, and then starts over again.
It is true, to make this possible in the competitive business world we live in today organizations have to employ top people.
The benefit however is by establishing a change management process as a business system that embraces the opportunity to review and change with flexibility on a regular basis it set's the company up for rapid success. We do not live in a world of certainty and predictability so organizations must establish a system of working within this type of environment. This is an eleven step summary of the general organizational change process that any organization can refer to. If not, how could you set up a management operating system inside your organization so that the review of improvement opportunities is undertaken on a regular daily ongoing basis as part of your daily management processes.

One benefit of this awareness and pressure is that it gets things moving and when actioned correctly, it gets positive things done. This awareness among your employees is significant benefit for your business because it provides your organization a motivational edge.
And in addition this invites into the business anticipation of what lies ahead which is more important than ever before because of the rapid rate that business consumer and producer markets are changing and with tougher competition and so on. The second step in the organizational change process is to recognize where in the business is the most important need right now. Internally often the area of need can be recognized by reviewing the company's financial performance. One benefit of analyzing the business is recognizing the area where changes are most needed now. The third step in the organizational change process is to diagnose the extent of how broad the opportunity is to improve.
Initially the various change management tools such as internal interviews, survey questionnaires, workplace observation, and data mining and brainstorming techniques can be used. Collect and analyze as much information as is needed when managing change in the workplace to be able to make the first major decision. More than one area of the business may improve with some causes of actions, while other actions may not fit well because they may cause a problem somewhere else. One benefit of this step is the opportunity to determine the right action that will deliver the sustainable results you seek in the shortest possible time. Selecting the best course of action to take is the second major decision in the organizational change process. Refer to the change management templates section of this site for change management forms that can be used in the organizational change process, such for developing change management plans, and for links to other change management resources available at this site.
Check your original business plan against your change management plan and its scheduled roll-out. Implementation should go ahead smoothly if the diagnosis and involvement of staff and the stakeholder analysis has been undertaken thoroughly. Measure the actual outcomes against the planned deliverables, and review the 'as is' against the 'as was'.
Report the efficiency and effectiveness of the new business systems and processes back into the ongoing organizational change process. Staff barbeques and interdepartmental sports matches are two functions of the organizational change process I have been involved in with firms celebrating successful change management and business improvement implementations. These types of events are great for continuous improvement strategies, with most people involved having a nice time they can also help to bring different teams within the company closer together. Other options organizations use to celebrate achievements include staff recognition and reward programs, promotions and positive performance appraisals. For successful change, and to sustain the commitment to change, the organizational change process cycle needs to keep going. When changes and improvements are later required, people become uncomfortable and the firm and people will have more challenges. By structuring your organizational change process as a system of continuing need to improve, the issues that may be holding your organization back from doing its best become visible. By implementing a business change management process that focuses attention on all aspects of the organization, including those aspects that are not changing, sustainability of high performance becomes achievable.
Change resistance can provide substantial benefits to your firm as later in the organizational change process people begin to suggest more ways to improve and to make more changes.
One of the reasons people may initially resist change is because they were not involved in the development of the project initiatives. Initially their behavior may appear mechanical, however as the change management benefits start to come through and the momentum increases, their commitment to the project initiatives and the organization builds. The change management process is an action filled cycle that can cover the entire organization and is why being a change agent and change management consultant is one of the most exciting roles in any business.
Gaining agreement and receiving sign-off approval from all stakeholders involved including departments heads, senior managers and team leaders. The development of the change management plan, including acquiring the allocation of resources, establishing measuring and monitoring systems and doing final re-assessments. Post implementation updating of company procedure manuals and records, and continued reviews to identify additional needs after implementing the change. For further assistance with the organizational change process from a change management consultant and business improvement specialist, contact me and I will be happy to set up an appointment with you.
A brief introduction to me personally would be that of all the things there are to experience in life my favorite thing to do is travel the world.
Other things I enjoy to do most of all are spending time with family and friends, fishing and camping, and playing golf and tennis. All that said, if travelling the world could be for you, then find out more about why I started this web site. For many organizations, an intranet makes a fundamental change in organizational communications, and also, business process. The challenge for most organizations is that if therea€™s no prior intranet, or worse yet the intranet is very poor, a new intranet may not inspire much use or it could promote a form of fear or distrust. In short, intranet change management becomes an exercise in a€?sellinga€? or communicating not only the reason and purpose for the change, but especially anticipating and directly addressing the spoken AND unspoken fears (or apathy) of employees.
Harris has developed a simple, but highly effective communications model that helps managers communicate and promote change. The model is broken into four quadrants and represents a change management communications program that follows a path beginning with communicating the necessity of change because of the a€?disadvantagesa€? of continuing with the status quo (Stage 1) before moving to the a€?advantagesa€? of changing the desired future state (Stage 2). Stage 1: The starting point for the intended communications (change management) program has the organization stating the disadvantage of staying with the status quo (a€?why we cana€™t continue with the current environmenta€?). Stage 2: Transition to the positive a€?advantagesa€? of moving to the desired future state and the benefits of doing so. Stage 3: Transition to directly addressing the spoken and unspoken fears and concerns of employees (a concern could manifest as apathy which is very common with intranets). Stage 4: Finally, close by communicating what a€?wonta€™ changea€? and underscore the importance of those elements of the status quote that will be preserved.
Harris isna€™t fond of big speeches and believes executive speeches shouldna€™t be longer than 10 or 15 minutes. As Ia€™ve become fond of saying over the years, a€?If you build it, they will not come.a€? To build an intranet is not enough to inspire employee use. Toby Ward is the President and Founder of Prescient Digital Media with 20 years of professional consulting experience. It is also one of the great change management tools for achieving effective communication in the workplace and effective business meetings.
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?
Generally we find ourselves in a negative situation for the business, with these two forces working against each other. 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.
Understanding there are several reasons why there may be resistance to change, using force field analysis as part of the broader organizational change process helps us to identify the reasons, bring them to the service and resolve them. It is a practical change management tool for supervisors, team leaders, taskforces and groups, managers, and change management specialists who are trying to get changes or improvements implemented. Down the right hand side list all the forces that are against the change and that are disabling or restraining the proposal. Which restraining forces can we make a driving force by delivering training, or improving workplace communication?
Then restate the proposal to provide a clear picture of the things for and against that we can influence. These are the aspects of the business that we are going to try and either eliminate or strengthen before the next meeting. How well the responsible individual may do in achieving the completion of their actions may be a facet of their particular skill set, role or position.

At the next meeting review again the force field diagram and action plan list, and ask did the actions strengthen of eliminate the issues, or do they remain the same.
In some instances they began firstly by recognizing the required attendees who had not attended. In the 21st century this change management tool remains a valuable resource for your business.
Perhaps suggesting it is a series of pre-defined steps and using this type of change management theory as a set approach to the change management process. What I hope is the discussion below makes the point that a continual high performance organizational change process can be developed, and it can be installed for your organization to be a sustainable high performance business. Yes I agree this does require some skills outside of the scope of traditional change management theories.
It is a business process that produces the answers for which change management activities are required that will result in an improvement to the business. Or they must contract external change management consultants with skills in this type of organizational change process. While reviewing this, ask yourself does your organization undertake this or a similar process on a regular basis? A company's people need to be aware that there is a continuing pressure to make a change or improve. Maybe the CEO has insights into what lies ahead and this awareness becomes the internal pressure to change.
We may be aware that there is pressure for our business or department to improve of change, but how do we determine what area within our business or department to focus on.
It may be by looking at what gaps exist between where the business is now and where you want it to be, or by comparing the elements of a high performance business to your own, or by benchmarking against competitors.
However you may also recognize a need in the company's staff attrition rates, number of injuries at work or when the firm is not producing the volume it has the capacity to produce.
To diagnose the existing issues or problems affect on the firm and which aspect of it should be focused on first? In addition, to complete a root causes analysis of the main issues, some of the operations management tools to use include Pareto charts, fishbone diagrams and the 5 whys. Reviewing and comparing possible courses of action is the fifth step of the organizational change process.
Continue with additional brainstorming activities and data analysis with your team and through stakeholder analysis to develop the best courses of action available. Try to base this decision on the achievement of the end result being in support of the firm's strategic objectives, and one that can be sustainable and provide financial benefit to your firm.
Planning the change will involve answering the questions of who, what, when, where, how and why. Implementing the changes and improvements is the ninth step in the organizational change process, the action phase.
If the project has been rushed through without proper consultation and review then it may be a very hard project to implement, more expensive, and could take a very long time.
Ensure your firm can maintain sustainable results after the change by having an installed management operating system. If your firm makes a change and then ceases to continue the process that begins in a continuing review, before long people will likely settle back to the old way of doing things. My point here is to highlight the necessity of establishing a business culture of continuous change and improvement. However because they are a part of the organization they will in most cases participate in the roll-out. For piece of mind and an absolutely free discussion and review of the challenges facing your business contact me today. Born in Sydney Australia, currently I live in Hong Kong and spend different times of the year living between the two wonderful cities. Since beginning to travel often from my early twenties to this date I have visited 46 countries. Travelling allows me to experience and learn more about these and it broadens my mind to the world. I have a passionate interest for helping companies perform better and to receive their maximum return on their investment in operations. Though the degree of change, and the required change management, depends on the type and culture of the organization (e.g. Like most things in business, the intranet has to be sold and communicated so those employees that are not keeners (or potentially fearful or distrustful of the intranet). Contact us directly for more information on how to transform your intranet into a high-value employee & business system.
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. Identify the barriers to being successful, individual personal requirements and team and crew requirements. What are some of the things internal or external to the project that if we introduce would support and or build up more driving forces for the project.
Questions would then be raised in regards, the effectiveness of the meetings, the strengths of the team responsible and whether the roles and responsibilities of the people involved are clearly defined. With further investigation these instances highlighted to the other members of the group, a restraining force. This is an area of the change management training and implementation service I provide as a change management consultant. There may be too much down time of equipment, high maintenance, failure and defect rates, or the trend is successful sales calls may be heading down.
It may involve organizational wide analysis including reviewing the firms goals, plans and practices, or may involve just one department or function. Answering the question: Are we going to fix the problem, or not fix it and maintain the course we are on? At this point begin to consider the elements of my actionable change management model outlined on this site.
Understand and highlight any differences the impact of the change may have on the business plan and make adjustments where necessary. Communicate the details of the plan to all people involved and ensure understanding of the changes, how it effects them and their required involvement. I enjoy mostly meeting people from the different cultures, learning about their lives, joys and challenges and their favorite things to do. In several different wonderful places I have been lucky to be invited to visit the homes of lovely people to eat their home cooked meals, and often with produce from their own land in some amazing and beautiful environments. Some have foods I prefer more than others and some have climates, history and culture I find more interesting than others.
Understanding the key elements of a successful change management program will help ensure a successful intranet launch.
The important thing is that the process leads to action items being completed and any new forces identified are fed into the force field analysis process. Otherwise things will stand still, the status quo will remain the same and many things will never change. Each one of the aspects of this model will need to be considered in the plans development for the best chance of change management and improvement success.
Overall I think the world is a wonderful and beautiful place and I just love being a part of it.

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