Force Field Analysis explained: on the back of three envelopes

Hi – This is the first of a short series on how to use popular models to create change that lasts. We’re going to start with Force Field Analysis.



Imagine a boat. Certain forces will make the water rise (the driving or positive forces) and others (resisting/negative forces) will make it fall taking the boat with it.



If someone – let’s call him Alex – wanted to improve his mental health using the force field analysis tool he’d start by drawing out how things are now. He eats well and exercises regularly (his positive forces). Medium length lines to represent that he knows he could eat and exercise better  (if he was being honest). But he’s also stressed, scared, isolated and sleeping badly. Long lines to represent powerful forces (in fact he feels quite over-whelmed by them when he thinks about it). So to make things better for Alex – ideally – he’d have to take active steps to weaken the negative forces or enhance the positive ones.


Let’s apply it to a more professional, public affairs context – take campaigning – then the idea would be to get the water to rise with strong allies and key messages, well-timed activities, and knowing who your opponents really are etc; and minimise the negative forces like failing to have a clear purpose and sloppy planning.


If you want to know more and like videos here’s something for you.

If you like reading stuff then why not try this one or perhaps this one.

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