Force Field Analysis: The Power of Drivers & Restraints

force field analysis six sigma tools

May The Force Be With You

Force Field Analysis is a powerful tool used to clearly understand the true position of a process. When trying to understand a process or a “why” there will always be proponents and detractors. Debates will ensue with lively arguments from both sides of the issue, clearly advocating their positions as right and just. These debates will defy any form of logic and fall down on the side of emotion. Forces on both sides of the issue will align their power base and fight hard for a win. These positions can typically be based on nothing more that habit or long standing practice, along with a strong fear of change. Their positions are typically clouded by anything other that fact.

Force Field Analysis Brings Clarity To The Debate

As professional practitioners of Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma, our professional commitment demands evaluation and action based on fact. Force Field Analysis was developed by sociologist Kurt Lewin, who asserted that human behavior is caused by forces — beliefs, values, expectations, etc. These forces can drive us toward a behavior, or restrain us away from a behavior. It strips away bias and emotion from any argument or brainstorming session. Simply put, the tool resembles a pros & cons chart, with driving forces listed on one side, and restraining forces listed on the other. A rating system can be used to identify the strengths of each of these forces, with the overall goal to maximize driving forces and minimize/eliminate restraining ones.

Moving Forward With Clarity

Once the emotion and bias is stripped away, the rated factors of the argument, both pro & con are then used to determine a course of action. Leaders are better able to obtain clarity in decision and direction, thus better focusing resources and quality improvement.

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