Articles · · 2 min read

Quickly evaluate if the conditions are ripe for change with Force Field Analysis

Rapidly examine which of your colleagues and stakeholders are ready for change with this powerful, and easy to implement visualization tool.

Designers, you are a force of change, but not all partners are ready for that change. In some cases, they are pretty resistant! For change to happen in any meaningful way, the status quo has to go. Over my whole career, I've only seen two ways for this to happen across an entire company at once:

  1. A change in the senior leadership at a company
  2. Something happens in the market to force a change; this is anything from revenue tanking, government regulators telling the company they have to change, or some scandal

But, fear not! There are all sorts of changes you can help drive in your day-to-day work. Often, the problem is not sorting out what to change but evaluating if and when the conditions are ripe for change. Visualizing problems gives you a leg up in sorting this out.

Force-field Analysis is a great visualization tool used to rapidly examine the forces both for and against a change. By conducting this analysis, it can help you determine whether or not you should charge ahead (with confidence) with your proposed changes or whether you should chill and look for another opportunity.

Force Field Analysis

In any given situation, there are factors and actors that help us move towards our desired goals, and some that prevent us. These include both tangible factors (e.g. finances, market changes, team structures) and emotional factors (e.g. politics, culture, ego, pride).

Force Field Analysis is a visualization tool that will help you look at these factors and sort out if the conditions are good to introduce change. There are four basic steps to conduct the analysis:

  1. Define the goal or change you're trying to accomplish and place it in the middle of the canvas
  2. Identify the forces that might support or hinder you accomplishing that goal or change; Forces could be people, projects, market conditions, etc.
  3. Score each each force, from, say, one (weak) to five (strong), according to the degree of influence each one has on the plan, and then add up the scores for each side (for and against).
  4. Add up your scores for each side and determine if there more forces for or against your proposed change

When thinking about the forces themselves, the following questions may help you identify forces that will influence the change:


​Learn more about Force Field Analysis​

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Force Field analysis is not a perfect science, at all. But, it's a quick and rapid way to visualize your gut checks. I've used it time and time again with teams to quickly look at who we might need to partner with, where we might need to increase our influence, or when we should take a little more time to consider proposing the change.

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