Kurt Lewin’s Force Field Analysis is a simple yet effective decision making model to add to your management tool-kit. Here’s the low down on how to use force field analysis to make better decisions, quickly, for yourself or with others.
Who’s Kurt Lewin anyway?
Kurt Lewin was a German social psychologist born in 1890, best known for “Force Field Analysis” using force field diagrams, and for introducing scientific experimentation to test hypotheses. Lewin worked mostly in the USA, and his teachings shape our understanding today of group dynamics.
Force Field Analysis – the 35,000 foot view
There are always pros and cons to a decision – nothing is ever that simple! The secret of good decision-making is figuring out whether the pros outweigh the cons BEFORE you take action. With force field analysis, you list and score the factors for and against a decision, total the scores and see which comes up best.
If it's a close call and the decision for or against is not clear, you can add an extra step. Review the factors affecting the decision and create an action plan to increase the “fors” and decrease the “againsts”. Simply repeat the force field analysis with the new conditions and your decision will be clear.
Force Field Analysis – Step 1 On a sheet of paper or spreadsheet, list all the factors for(pros) and factors against (cons) a decision. Include intangible or emotional factors as ignoring these can undermine your decision.
Force Field Analysis -Step 2 Give each factor a score of between 1 and 5, where 1 is low or weak and 5 is high or strong. Draw opposing arrows for each factor, where the size represents the score.
Force Field Analysis - Step 3 Total the For and Against scores. Is the result as expected? Do your heart and head agree? If not, review briefly the factors you listed. Are there any missing? Are less important factors overshadowing the more important factors? Are the scores realistic, and spread across the full range? Resist the temptation to...