- A forcefield analysis is a useful tool for helping people to:
Decide when and where to act to make changes in their lives
- Help them to make difficult decisions
Originally devised by Kurt Lewin, it helps to identify factors that help and hinder a desired change or decision, and ways of reducing resisting forces and increasing supporting forces by first understanding the force with which these factors affect us. There is an example below.
The table shows the forces that hold the status quo (the current state) in balance. You can move from the current to the goal state either by increasing the supporting forces or decreasing the resisting forces that prevent movement towards the desired goal.
How to choose what forces to address?
Lewin’s guidance is as follows:
a. The collection of supporting and resisting forces represents a total amount of energy that holds the current state away from the desired state.
b. Ease of change is likely enhanced if the total amount of energy in the system is kept to a minimum.
c. The best route to moving towards the desired state is to first look for resisting forces that can be lessened or removed from the system. Doing this allows the supporting forces to move the change towards the desired state.
First, look for key resisting forces that can be lowered or removed. Next, look at resisting and supporting forces according to how important the force is and how easy it is to change.
The more important and easier the change, the more attractive the force is for consideration. However, this does not rule out addressing big, hard forces; sometimes this analysis shows that’s just where you need to go. Given these criteria, prioritize the forces that need to be addressed to achieve the change.
Enter this prioritzation onto paper. Use a numerical rating of the priorities from most important to least, or give them high, medium and low categories.
Create a plan for addressing as many of these priority areas, in an appropriate sequence, as you believe your resources justify.