11.08.2022

Define the best solution to a problem using force field analysis

We make many changes in our lives - both personal and business. Their implementation often raises many questions, and thus doubts. The process taking place is not schematic - each modification involves different challenges and needs. So how to prepare for implementing changes so as to avoid failure? How to predict whether an idea is likely to succeed? One solution is to perform a force field analysis.

Useful for change management and more

The basis of force field analysis comes from the theory of Kurt Lewin, a German-American psychologist. It assumes that the behavior of each individual is determined by the interaction of two forces: a driving force and an inhibiting force, which are in perfect balance. To carry out a change, the existing status quo must be violated - in this case, the analysis will determine how to do it. The method is used not only in business, but also in coaching, psychology, or in everyday life.

Process flow

Analysis consists of the following stages:

  • Prepare a diagram consisting of two columns and write the current situation in the middle.
  • Determine the goal and write it down below the description of the current situation.
  • Identify the driving forces and record them in the left column.
  • Recognize the inhibitory forces and place them on the right side of the diagram.

Further steps depend on individual preference: you can draw arrows to each force, expressing its power, or give it a rating on a scale of your choice, and then add up the score. The resulting value will determine where to start and how to guide the process of implementing the change. Above all, the model should be transparent to the team involved.

Assumptions

In order for the whole process to be successful, it is necessary to start by eliminating the objections accompanying those involved in implementing the change. According to Levin's model, the greater the pressure - the stronger the resistance. For example, if a person who has just passed a driver's license immediately takes to the highway, any negative event will affect his further reluctance and fear of driving. One should start on neighborhood roads to get used to the car and traffic. Attempting to combat potential setbacks should take place at the grassroots, and strengthening the driving forces should take place only after the anxiety has been overcome. The change should be managed in such a way as not to make it a temporary state of affairs - the smoker should aim to give up cigarettes for more than a few days, as the change would not make sense. The so-called "freezing" of new attitudes, i.e. fixing them, should be supported by introducing new patterns or benefits. For example - launching an incentive system to encourage co-workers to get used to the change faster - initially, each day without smoking could be rewarded with a piece of cake.

Why force field analysis?

The model makes it possible to recognize and analyze the factors that affect the final outcome of implementing change. With such knowledge, entrepreneurs, directors, or anyone coordinating the change can thoughtfully and sustainably carry out the process in their environment, as well as have constant control over the process and react quickly to unexpected events. A kind of simulation of the aftermath and future after the change also makes it easier for co-workers to get used to and accept it more quickly.

Theory in life

The head of a certain restaurant needed a kind of , "refresh" of his business. He and his co-owner decided to change the restaurant's profile to a place for vegetarians and vegans. At first they had great success due to the promotions offered to celebrate the opening of the new bistro, however, after a few weeks profits began to decline.

Using the force field analysis model, it is possible to identify the factors that contributed to the decline in customer interest. The entrepreneur's goal is to maximize profit, keep current consumers happy and attract new ones. Driving forces include an increase in the trend toward being vegetarian/vegan, or a refreshed restaurant décor to encourage visitors. Regular customers, however, valued the restaurant for its meat dishes. In addition, the head chef is inexperienced in preparing dishes consisting of vegetables and takes more time to prepare, resulting in longer wait times. This also affects the quality of the food customers receive. The factors identified above are inhibiting forces. By analyzing the force field, the owner is able to assess what is worth doing, starting with eliminating the restraining forces. Consequently, the head chef was trained in the preparation of meatless dishes, in addition, a young graduate of a catering technical school was hired, who is himself a vegetarian. However, it was decided to combine the two cuisines - the restaurant offers both vegetable dishes and beefsteaks or chops - so that regular and new customers remain satisfied. By using the model, profits have increased and negative factors have been combated.

Victoria Klein

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