Creating a force field analysis template can be done in seconds and it can be applied with minimal effort.
In this post, we’ll cover what the force field analysis is, how to create a simple template in seconds, and then learn how to apply that template.
The Force Field Analysis: A Quick Intro
The force field analysis is a model that change managers can use to assess proposed business change projects.
Originally developed as a social psychology model by Kurt Lewin, business professionals now use it to analyze the forces that are supporting and opposing potential changes.
Here is a quick breakdown of this model:
- Changes are held in check by two forces, helping forces and hindering forces
- Helping forces support the forward movement of a change
- Hindering forces block that change from moving forward
- The force field analysis evaluates these two forces and can help improve decision-making and change management planning
This tool, fortunately, is very easy to understand and apply, as we’re about to see.
How to Build a Force Field Analysis Template in 60 Seconds
Here is a simple guide to creating your own force field analysis template:
- Open Excel
- Label one column: “Supporting Forces”
- Label the next column: “The Change Proposal”
- Label the third column: “Hindering Forces”
Since the force field analysis describes only these three elements, this is really all that is needed to create your own template.
Naturally, any other software will do – InDesign, MS Word, Google Docs, Google Sheets, or any other word processing or spreadsheet software.
The important point is, of course, not which software you use, but how you apply the template.
How to Use the Force Field Analysis to Drive Business Change
Follow these simple steps to make use of the template:
1. Describe the goal of the change project
In the second column – under “change proposal” – describe the goal of your change project.
The goal, or the vision for change, should describe the proposed changes in as much detail as possible.
The more detail that you provide, after all, the easier it will be to gauge the impact of the change and the forces supporting or opposing it.
2. Identify the forces supporting change
Next, examine the forces that would help move the change forward and list those in the first column, “Supporting Forces.”
The forces supporting a change will naturally differ depending on the circumstances.
A few examples include:
- Customer demand
- Technology-driven innovation
- Competitive pressure
These forces will naturally differ depending on the circumstances and can include both internal forces as well as external forces.
3. Identify the forces hindering change
In the third column, “Hindering Forces,” list all the potential barriers to change. As with helping forces, these can be internal or external, and they can be based in a variety of dimensions, including processes, people, technology, environment, and so forth.
Here are a few examples:
- Organizational inertia
- Resistance to digitization
- Legacy IT systems
Once a complete list of both helping and hindering forces has been completed, it’s time to balance them against each other.
4. Score both types of forces
Not every force has the same weight – some are stronger and some are weaker.
One easy way to score the strength of each force is to give it a numerical assignment from weakest to strongest:
- 1 to 5
- 1 to 10
These can then be added up and the total score for each side can be evaluated.
5. Find ways to improve supporting forces and reduce opposing forces
Once the template has been filled out, those doing the brainstorming can then devise strategies for improving those scores.
- One way to mitigate the fear of change is to be transparent about the change process
- To improve the digital employee experience, managers can adopt tools designed to simplify the digital ecosystem
- Poor digital skills can be overcome through proper employee training
Once solutions have been developed, new scores can be calculated which can, in turn, result in a new overall score.
Pros and Cons of the Force Field Analysis
This method certainly has its benefits, but it is not perfect – and it should certainly not be used as the sole means of assessing project viability.
Here are a few reasons why this tool can be useful:
- It is easy to understand and implement
- Stakeholders can quickly grasp the big picture of a proposed change
- The analysis can be completed rapidly
There are also a few drawbacks and considerations to be aware of:
- This method can be quite subjective
- It is also relatively superficial and doesn’t account for important details, such as financials
- Not everyone will necessarily agree on the inputs or the outputs of the analysis
That being said, this tool does have its place, especially when it is used in conjunction with other change management models and frameworks.
Chris is the Lead Author & Editor of Change Blog. Chris established the Change blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Change Management.