A Force Field Analysis is a tool that helps you in looking at organizations as systems in motion (rather than static structures). In order to change your organization, it’s crucial that you now what forces surround this system.
A force analysis will allow you to:
- Research the balance of power involved in you organisation or a specific issue
- Identify key-stakeholders and/or target groups you’ll need to convince for this issue
- Identifying opponents and allies
- Identify how to influence different stakeholders or groups (find their drivers)
If you want to use the Force Field Diagram to identify the forces surrounding your organisations, you’re probably facing a very large task. The easiest way is to first identify the projects and issues that will drive your organisation towards the change it’s aiming for. Once these projects are identified, you can use the tool to map out the force field surrounding it (working on projects that will change the organisation one step at a time is easier and often faster than changing everything at the same time).
These are the steps to fill in the Force Field Diagram:
- Describe the current state (current situation)
- Describe the future state (desired situation)
- Identify how the current state will evolve if no extra actions are taken
- List the driving forces that will change the situation towards the desired state
- List all the restraining forces that keep you from moving towards the goal
- Discuss these different drivers open and transparent with the different stakeholders. Are they valid? How do they influence each-other? Can they be changed? How strong are these forces?
- Score the different forces on a numeric scale (eg. 1= very weak force; 20 = very strong force)
- Plot the different forces on a chart (see examples above and below). You can use scale or line width to make the forces even more visible. Place the driving forces from left to right and the restraining forces from right to left.
- Analyse the picture: Does the driving force stand a chance against the restraining force? How can you change this? Is faster progress feasible?
- Discuss about up-scaling driving forces and weakening restraining forces and how to influence different stakeholders.
- Keep in mind that whenever a force changes, other forces might be influenced by this (eg. First movers, tipping points…)
If you create this diagram with a data-program like Excel, it’s easy to keep track of the different forces and how the balance changes over time.