Driving change is one of the most important responsibilities of a leader. Yet, in my view, most organisations do change really poorly. Many are confronted by and even scared of change, and as a result fail to plan and implement it well. The result is, well, failed changed and the cynicism and mistrust that follows. Here is a way of better understanding change that will lead to us being less afraid of it.
The Force Field Analysis was developed by Kurt Lewin, a German American psychologist. It involves understanding the two opposing forces in a change. Firstly, Driving Forces are those that represent the reasons why the change should happen. Restraining Forces are the opposite – they are the reasons why there may be resistance to the change.
When you realise that a change needs to happen, list the driving forces. That should be easy. Now, walk around to the other side of the issue and look at it from a different perspective. How does it look now? Not so easy? List the reasons why the change might fail or where the resistance could come from.
Now that you understand the forces involved, design the change. In the past I have been guilty, when faced with restraining or opposing forces, of simply increasing the driving forces. Why? Because I could. A smarter way might be to address and thereby reduce the power of the restraining forces, meaning the change will succeed with even less driving force, or effort.
Perhaps taking the time to better understand change is the smart way to change?