In today’s time, strategic decisions are severely important for all business. Although there are a number of Tools to help businesses in making decision, today I will discuss one of the most important but common tool. Actually, we even do it to a small extent in our real life, however we fail to realize it. The way I am going to introduce it, will help you be more professional and accurate in decision making.
Force Field analysis is basically a tool where we put in front of us a choice, and then start to pen down all the effects. The first step is simple, write each and every possible effect of making that choice, from negative to positive to neutral. Make sure to write the effects on the society as well, because being Ethical and taking Social Corporate Responsibility is not only important, but also effective in Business Success. Once you have written all the effects, the next step is to classify whether it is positive for the business or negative. In case of Non-profit making organizations, consider whether it helps in achieving the non-profit goal or not, and in case of Government organizations, consider the essence of helping the public or otherwise achieving the natural goal of the project. The neutral ones can often be ignored, although they may be hard to find and complex to attain.
Here comes the hard part, we now need to give points to each and every effect. We now have to consider the worth of each effect not just in terms of benefits or problems to us, our employees and our other stakeholders but also on the society. As I said earlier, businesses these days have become ethical and we have to consider the effects on society, example pollution, noise, exploitation of resources and more. Of course, for business aiming at profit maximization, It is only natural that they will give less weightage to effects on the society and more to effects on the business itself while Government organizations will give more weightage to effects on society and vice versa. The problem is how do we give numerical figures to effects e.g happier work force or more pollution. Certainly it is very hard, but it is possible to find one element that is being effected by all of these factors. E.g profit. A happier work force might increase the profits by 0.1%, with workforce producing slightly higher than before on average. On the other hand the pollution might reduce the sales by 5% that is from the population that is around the Factory or working zone, which might result in a 0.5% reduction in profit, with net margin being 10%. Now if we just take a look at these 2 weightages, happy work force has a positive effect of weightage 0.1 and while pollution has a negative effect of weightage 0.5. This means that we should not take this decision. However, these are only 2 weightages. In reality we can have tens and hundreds, for bigger businesses even thousands of effects and their respective weightages. Certainly this is a time consuming task, but step by step, working with a group can help produce accurate results.
Once you have given the weightage just total both sides and see which side is heavier. The heavier side is the one you should support, at least from the Force field analysis perspective.
It would be irrational if I do not state the limitations of this strategic tool. You might have figured this that giving weightage can be a very difficult task to do. Finding all the factors that will be effected is a complex task in the first place, let alone the idea of giving them weightage. After a while of doing this, when you will compare, say 2 effects randomly, you might get confused on their relative weightage to each. They might not make sense, but this is the reason I said that you will have to work with a team and the team members just produce their own weightage with their own ideas.
This tool might look very simple to understand, but the fact is that it is very difficult to design and the time it takes is beyond patience. However, it is a very powerful tool as it considers almost everything and I highly recommend it.
The image above is a very good example of a force field analysis. Take a look at how they take 2 sides “Forces for Change” and “Forces against Change” and give weightage to each effect. It makes sense which decision they will chose because of the totals. Decision making is much easier now.
Force Field analysis is a great tool but remember, it is not the only tool. I do recommend it highly, but when It comes to making major decisions, everything must be considered and more than one tool must be used. Later I will talk about more complex tools and strategies that help in making important decisions.