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Creative Twist: Feel the Force

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This is the second in a series of quick and easy creative ways to add a new “twist” to training exercises.


Force Field Analysis is a common tool for exploring the forces that may be in play both “for and against” a change scenario or project.

Usually the Field is drawn up using a flip chart or on paper and typically arrows are used to graphically display the relative strengths and positions of the forces.

Stepping back and reviewing the picture summary provides the opportunity for analysis so that actions can be explored for going forward to manage the change.

Useful questions will follow such as:
1. What could be done to marshal more support from this set of stakeholders?
2. If resistance from this quarter could be lessened or removed what would happen?
3. Who do we need to speak with in order to achieve a breakthrough on this?
4. Why do we think this group is so anti this initiative?

“Standing in the Force Field” Variations:

  • Option 1:
    “Forces” from a real change situation are displayed on separate pieces of paper and are displayed on a large table. Strengths can be represented by drawing arrows, using different sizes of print and colour etc.

    Additional group dynamics will come into play in creating this larger table display. It can be more involving to have people standing and walking round in discussion rather than being seated.

    The fact that the pieces can be moved in response to iterative discussion and debate makes this more fluid than a rigid display e.g. as on a flip chart. As a result there may be a freeing of ideas in relation to the forces at hand.

  • Option 2:
    Forces are discussed by the group and displayed on separate pieces of paper as above. This time, however, they are displayed on the floor. Participants are invited to stand on the pieces of paper at random and to express their insights into the view of the stakeholders represented from the various positions.

    People can also be encouraged to explore the emotional angles of the situation as well as more pragmatic stances.

  • Other ideas:
    To get a feel for the strength of a force a corresponding number of people can physically stand in a position rather than a reliance on the drawing alone. This group can discuss as a whole the stakeholder position.

    Participants can also be invited to stand on different sides of the scenario and are asked questions by the facilitator e.g.

    “What would it take get you to physically shift from that position – to back down or to lend your support?”

    “How does it look/feel from that position?”

  • Benefits:

    • Participants literally step into the topic and explore it from within rather than as detached observers

    • Additional layers of insight can be achieved by standing in other peoples’ shoes

    • Creative use of space

    Further information:
    www.valuebasedmanagement.net/methods_lewin_force_field_analysis.html
    http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTED_06.htm


    About the authorAndy Rankin is a director of Creative Metier Limited an executive mentoring consultancy. The business has developed an online interactive software tool that utilises creative processes to support people explore their long term future direction. [email protected].

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