Quality Progress - January 2016 - (Page 33)
BACK TO BASICS
With Open Communication
A force field analysis helps employees meet organizational goals
by Grace L. Duffy, John Bauer and John W. Moran
force field analysis is a tool
that can help employees
resolve issues to meet the
goals of their organizations. It helps
identify forces currently supporting
or working against the solution of an
issue, so positives can be reinforced
and negatives eliminated or reduced.1
Force field analysis began as a tool
to assist management and minimize
barriers to change, but it quickly
became a useful vehicle for facilitating at all levels of an organization.
GOAL/QPC included a description
of force field analysis in its Memory
Jogger Series as early as 1992 and
incorporated it into the first edition
of The Memory Jogger II in 1994.2
How is a force field analysis created?
Start by drawing a large letter T on
a piece of paper. Write the issue at
hand at the top of the paper (see
Figure 1). As a group, describe the
ideal situation by resolving the issue,
and write the resolution below the
Have a facilitator work with the
group to brainstorm forces leading to
or preventing the ideal situation.
These forces may be internal or
external. List positive forces on the
left side of the T and, on the right
side, forces limiting movement
toward the ideal state.
For example, the analysis in Figure
1 focuses on meetings starting late.
Using time effectively, planning
What does the tool do?
other activities so schedules are realA force field analysis does the folistic, valuing members equally and
publishing an agenda are all forces
* Presents the positives and negathat support on-time meetings.
tives of a situation so they are
Changing priorities, overcommitted
schedules, low team morale and lack
* Considers all aspects of making the
of meeting notice all contribute to
meetings not starting on time.
* Encourages agreement about the
Once all positive and negative forces
relative priority of factors on each
are listed, prioritize the forces that need
side of the balance sheet.
to be strengthened or identify the
* Encourages honest reflection on
restraining forces that need to be minithe underlying roots of a problem
mized to accomplish on-time meetings.
and its solution.
For instance, send an agenda two days
The only supplies needed to perbefore each meeting. This provides a
form a force field analysis are a pencil
positive structure and removes the
and paper, or a flip chart and marker
negative force of no meeting notice.
if you're working in a large group.
The facilitator keeps discussion going
among the participants until
consensus is reached on
Force Field Analysis Diagram each impediment to starting
meetings on time.
Issue: Meetings starting late
A versatile tool
Ideal state: To start meetings on time
+ Driving forces
Restraining forces -
Use time effectively
Help plan other activities
Value all members equally
Low team morale
Lack of meeting notice
J U L Y
2 0 0 1
W W W . A S Q . O R G
Force field analysis can
be used to analyze and
assign key tasks in strategic or project planning. All
levels of employees can
use the tool to identify
positive and negative
issues in a situation. As in
any planning activity, the
team should identify both
positive and negative
forces affecting the task.3
Force field analysis encourages
team members to raise questions
throughout the process. These questions shouldn't be considered
obstacles to successful planning, but
should instead be valued and not
Force field analysis is a powerful
tool that encourages communication
at all levels of management. By creating a structured environment for
problem solving, it minimizes feelings of defensiveness. There is a
feeling of openness about problem
solving because all members of the
group are focused on the issue,
rather than personal agendas.
Hierarchical or traditional power
structures are less liable to restrict
the flow of creative ideas.
Quality and improvement thrive
where communication is encouraged.
Force field analysis supports creative
dialogue among group members. The
tool is simple to use, easy to represent
graphically and applicable to all levels
of an organization.
1. Michael Brassard, Diane Ritter and Francine
Oddo, editors, The Memory Jogger II, first edition
(Methuen, MA: GOAL/QPC, 1997).
3. Terence T. Burton and John W. Moran, The
Future Focused Organization (Englewood Cliffs,
NJ: Prentice Hall, 1995).
GRACE L. DUFFY is a management and performance specialist at Trident Technical College
in Charleston, SC. Duffy is a Senior Member of
ASQ and incoming chair of the Quality
Management Division. She is also a certified
quality auditor and certified quality manager.
JOHN BAUER is president of QA/QC
Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh. He is a Fellow
Member of ASQ and incoming chair-elect of
the Quality Management Division. Bauer is
also a certified quality auditor, certified quality
manager and quality systems lead auditor.
JOHN W. MORAN is senior vice president at
New England Baptist Hospital in Boston. He is
a Fellow Member of ASQ and current chair of
the Quality Management Division. Moran is
also a certified quality manager. QP
January 2016 * QP 33
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Quality Progress - January 2016
According to Plan
Use Your Head
Stakeholder Management 101
All About Data
Eight Simple Steps
Which Six Sigma Metric Should I Use?
Turning ‘Who’ Into ‘How’
In the Beginning
Outputs and Outcomes
That’s So Random—Or Is It?
Improving a System
Putting It All on the Table
Know the Drill
It’s Fun To Work With an F-M-E-A
Solve Problems With Open Communication
Tell Me About It
Separate the Vital Few From the Trivial Many
To DMAIC or Not to DMAIC?
Breaking It Down
1 + 1 = Zero Defects
Curve Your Enthusiasm
Make a Choice
What Is a Fault Tree Analysis?
Successful Relationship Diagrams
The Benefits of PDCA
Return on Investment
The Art of Root Cause Analysis
Why Ask Why?
Get to the Root of It
Checks and Balances
Clearing SPC Hurdles
Supplier Selection and Maintenance
Building a Quality Team
Plan Experiments to Prevent Problems
Quality Progress - January 2016