Forcefield Analysis

Force-field analysis is a structured way of aggregating and collating investigations, discussions and brainstorming around proposed changes into a simple, easy to understand format that supports decision-making and communication, as well as making it simpler to retrospectively justify decisions.

Think about when a change is proposed. It might be a thought you have to yourself, a decision within your team , a project proposal at work, or even a large-scale change for society. There will many factors supporting the change and many working against it. Not all such factors are of equal weight or importance. Force-field analysis seeks to balance those opposing forces (called ‘drivers’ and ‘restraints’) and rank or prioritise them in descending order of significance. You can see in this graphic above the bare bones of how one might look in near-finished form.

But how do you get from a random mess of thought, notes and research into a simple one-page, colour-coded, histogram? This is particularly challenging when issues are subjective and not necessarily easily measured. I suggest using post-it notes and a group-voting technique called ‘fist-to-five’.

Assign one person to coordinate the assessing of the content you’ve created in your investigations and discussions. They produce an unordered list of the drivers and restraints. Transfer those onto post-it notes individually. (One factor per note). Use two distinctly different colours to distinguish the drivers from the restraints. Then get the group to vote, briefing the group on how ‘fist-to-five’ works if they are not yet familiar with it. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s the subject of my next blog post…

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The PESTEL Grid: Prompting thinking about workplace culture

Your plans are more likely to achieve success if you’ve looked at your situation as broadly as possible. PESTEL analysis is about looking at these same issues from different perspectives as deeply as necessary.

PESTEL stands for politics, economics, society, technology, environment, and law. You can apply a PESTEL analysis within each grid of a SWOT analysis. So, you would seek to understand your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, each from the perspective of politics, economics, society, technology, the environment, and law.

Here’s a sample PESTEL grid with a few examples to illustrate.

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The WIIFM Grid

Kahneman and Tversky won prizes for their work around motivation. I like to strip such scholarly wisdom (which I highly recommend) down to nuts and bolts tools for practical application at the coalface of leadership.

I’ll sometimes use this WIIFM grid (What’s in it for me) as an actual fill-in-the-blanks worksheet but, more often, it’s just in my head as a coaching conversation prompt.

It’s one of my go-to tools, my WIIFM grid, combining both the push and the pull, and guiding people to work it out for themselves. This improves the odds that they will buy-in and stick with it. Whatever ‘it’ is…

Being smart vs doing smart

This week, I worked with a couple of groups of highly qualified people and the discussion cropped up around mindset and how it can hold us back or propel us forward. AND, that, ultimately, it is a choice.

Smart is not like height, something we’re stuck with due to luck and genetics. For those of us trying to lead and influence others, this belief might be one of the most important to instill in them.

Learning From Our Mistakes (& Successes)

Purposeful Reinvention

Getting In Our Own Way

The ‘Triple-I’ Engagement Model

Complaints are the tip of an iceberg

I was running a workshop in a factory. They had a very effective set of processes, and overtly obvious team commitment, to health and safety. Many more workplaces do so these days, driven by genuine concern (backed up by significant potential regulatory consequences).

They also, like many workplaces, SAID they had a team commitment to quality. Many workplaces SAY this but it’s not overtly obvious in evidence. This factory however did more than SAY, they DID. If health and safety processes are the gold(ish) standard against which things that actually matter are measured, what they did was apply that same H&S template to their quality practices.

Everyone says H&S is “everyone’s responsibility” even if there is someone with a job title with H&S in it. Everyone should report a ‘near miss’ H&S event or risk. These folks have all that for quality issues. Pretty impressive. Why re-invent the wheel?

Many outfits seem to me to be where H&S was maybe 20 years ago – talking a good game. Take complaints. [Please 😉 ]. They’re an iceberg tip. Leaping onto them is fine, and you should, but what about the ‘near misses’ where the customer chooses option 1 below instead of doing your job for you and complaining?

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Creativity On Demand

One comedy-writing technique is comparing 2 or more seemingly dissimilar things, looking for ways where they are the same or opposite, where there are large vs small, or past vs present comparisons etc. It’s kind of clunky and mechanical. The cooler comedians would describe such processes as ‘hack’. Nevertheless, if you have a gig for the dairy awards and you’re a bit thin on milk jokes, it will at least get the ball rolling while you wait for the inspiration pixies to sprinkle inspiration dust on your forehead while you sleep.

I read a book waaay back called Serious Creativity. (Later, the name of my holding company seriouscomedy would be partly inspired by it). At its core, the book extracts from the world of artistic creatives ways in which businessfolk can generate new product ideas, new partnership opportunities, or solutions to problems that aren’t just tweaks to business-as-usual. Give it a read, it’s worth a look.

How do YOU get something on your blank pages when YOUR job requires your team to be creative? Do you schedule a brainstorming meeting in the Kawhai Room for 10am on a Wednesday and hope that everyone is creative there and then and is open to express that in front of others? Or, do you actually have a toolbox of creativity-generating or provoking techniques?

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