Organizational Change: How to Increase Driving Forces and How to Decrease Restraining Forces?

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Organizational Change: How to Increase Driving Forces and How to Decrease Restraining Forces?
Yaser Rasouli, Manager, Iran, Member
I could do with some practical advice increasing driving / decreasing restraining forces.
How can one increase driving forces? And how can one decrease restraining forces?
Any ideas or experiences are welcome...

Focus on Decreasing the Restraining Forces
David Inglis, Business Consultant, United Kingdom, Member
I usually only look at the restraining forces. The driving forces are usually in place and operate independently.
I score both types of force from +/-1 to +/-5 (negative for restraining forces of course) and look at the main -5 and -4's in particular to see what actions can be done to minimise these.

Consider the Change Forces over Time
Jaap de Jonge, Editor, Netherlands
When deploying Force Field Analysis, a frequent mistake is to regard it and its forces as a picture or a snapshot, typically taken at the beginning of an organizational change effort.
But any major organizational change effort takes considerable time: at least months, often longer.
So you should not only look at the restraining/driving forces at the beginning of your change effort, but OVER THE ENTIRE PERIOD. The forces change! If at anytime during your effort the restraining forces become too powerful and you did not plan for that, your nice change project will probably end there. A big waste of everybody's time and money.
So analyze the forces and plan on how to use and mitigate them over the whole change period, before you start your change initiative and keep doing that while it is underway.

Commitment to Change Influences Both Forces
Gandhi Heryanto, Management Consultant, Indonesia, Premium Member
To increase the driving forces and to minimize the restraining forces are key to the success of a change. Both of these forces are derived from people. Therefore we need a COMMITMENT TO CHANGE FROM THE PEOPLE.
Many other variables can also influence the success of organizational change, such as the content of the change, the process of the change, individual characteristics, leadership, external environment and organizational context.
A study conducted by Mangundjaya, Wustari L H. (2014) showed that psychological empowerment and organizational trust have positive and significant correlation and contribution to the Commitment to Change.

Any Change Effort Requires BUY-IN
Benjamin Motlhabane, Consultant, South Africa, Member
At the heart of any resistance to change or restraining forces are: fear of the unknown, comfort zone syndrome, uncertainty, and sometimes, unclear and poorly communicated change objectives.
A recent experience in one organisation showed the resistance to change was a result of a tug of war between executive management and operation management. The gap and lack of trust between these two layers created uncertainty throughout the organisation.
Change was driven exclusively from the top and that led to resistance. The sad thing is that they had recently acquired very strong individuals without baggage who could be the strong forces of change to turn the organisation around.

Driving and Restraining Forces
Keith Brown, HR Consultant, United Kingdom, Member
Useful reminders particularly that @forces may change over the length of the change process.
Organisational POLITICS whether we like it or not will also play a significant role.

Gregory Johnson, Coach, United States, Premium Member
Oftentimes, the client is quick to enter into discussions regarding the problems or challenges to implement change.
We apply a Sankofa* type discussion. This requires an INITIAL QUERY REGARDING THE PURPOSE AND OVERALL GOALS of the organization. We ask are they being met under current operating palettes. Following the response to these questions both the client and the consultant have responded to the "WHY?", of the pursuit for change.
With this we are better positioned to articulate to every internal and external participant "why" the change effort is being pursued. When this dialogue is shaped, we can then inventory all that is going well or the good things we either have been doing or are doing that contribute to the success of the organization.
The CHANGE agenda should be to strengthen or improve on aspects of the organization that are working well. Through this effort the areas of weakness could decline due to the overwhelming investment of time and energy toward change.
* Editor: Sankofa is associated with the Ghanese proverb, “Se wo were fi na wosankofa a yenkyi," which translates as: "It is not wrong to go back for that which you have forgotten".

People are Change - Validate
Gretchen Richards, Professor, United States, Member
People are the change; therefore, validate their efforts, concerns, and talents.
To validate does not mean to provide an hour session with each individual as in a "therapy session". Learn and understand the cause of resistance and validate those concerns. Select the emergent and shadow organization leadership to discuss the obstacles to change.
A simple, well written reply addressing the concerns will suffice in most cases. Do not be condescending, arrogant, or belittle them. They provided the work and foundation for you to enhance the product or services. People should always be first; especially those who provide the greatest resistance to change. Once they understand and join your efforts, the rest will fall into place.

Knowledge on Various Layers in Being and Tendencies Therein
srinivas, Lecturer, India, Member
With regard to augmenting the driving forces and decreasing the restraining forces, the KNOWLEDGE WITH REGARD TO DIFFERENT LAYERS OF BEING and the tendencies present in those layers may be of help as an organization is a collection of people and people themselves are a collection of tendencies in each layer of being.
The tendencies are negative and positive in nature. Layers in being are at physical level, intellectual level, negative emotions layer, the layer which causes joy, conscious layer, subconscious layer, guidance layer, engagement layer and achievement of complete focus (Editor: compare also Schein's culture levels). The resulting effect of these two tendencies in all the layers of all the people in the organization may determine the chances of success of some change effort and the performance of the organization.
In a first stage one should understand and measure the tendencies at each layer, here probably statistical approaches to problem solving may come to use. Adopting big data and analysis of this data using semantic enabled applications may help in assessing the current state of being quantitatively. Next, making appropriate change management suggestions available in the context at hand, may help in achieving the change objectives.

Driving Forces X Restraining Forces
NESTOR ALBUQUERQUE, Consultant, Brazil, Member
@David Inglis: David, wouldn't looking at the driving forces help beating the restraining ones?...

Figure the Type of Personality First
Barney Wade Howard, Manager, United States, Member
This is an interesting subject. At the individual level, change can be handled by most people if you know in advance their personality type. Whether a person is an Analyzer, Persuader, Controller or Stabilizer, there are certain 'keys' that each type needs in order to get results:
  • A Stabilizer for instance, needs to be almost courted. You have to ask specific questions and show interest in their personal goals.
  • A Controller just needs facts, options and specific data on the outcome.
  • An Analyzer has to be approached with preparedness, precisely specific information. You have to give them time to research the data that is given to them. Do not leave any data out.
  • A Persuader is similar to a Stabilizer in that they have the need to be "known". Leave space open for their ideas for they take the emotions of people into consideration. Don't expect the Stabilizer to stay on subject. Their top strength is verbal skills.
This is just a broad view. Getting to know who you are dealing with and how will get you far.

Happy Positive Thinking!
j boer, Netherlands, Member
How to Increase Driving Forces and How to Decrease Restraining Forces?
Change the tone of your thoughts from negative to positive.
Watch your thoughts, they become words.
Watch your words, they become actions.
Watch your actions, they become habits.
Watch your habits, they become your character.
Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.
Happy positive thinking!

Decrease Restraining Forces with Empathy
Ivan Kohlinsky, Management Consultant, United Kingdom, Member
From what I remember about FFA, when depicted diagrammatically one represented the relative strength/importance of positive and negative forces by the thickness of the lines. So start with the thick ones that are restraining.
But, to state the obvious, try an empathy mind set. Put yourself in the mind of that manager, employee, supplier etc and really understand why they are resisting. It may not be, and probably isn't, just due to stubbornness, ignorance or luddite behaviour. Also there may be another way that gives you only a slightly lower 'win' but where resistance is much reduced. Good luck.

How to Decrease Restraining Forces
Goran Weihs, CxO / Board, Member
Manageing change resistance is not about selling grand visions. As Mr. @Benjamin Motlhabane rightly noted above it's about addressing fears. People representing the most severe resistance to change, will frequently become the strongest proponents for change - once their fears are addressed and they can see a viable rationale (what's in it for them).
Identifying resistance comes from common sense (who is obviously threatened by upcoming changes), by observing change resisting personal and group behaviour while promoting/implementing change, and even by simply noting who does not show the enthusiasm needed for a successful implementation of changes.
Don't forget: The biggest fish swims in shallow waters. Outspoken resistance may be easily managed. Other people, seemingly on board, may well be project killer sharks. You need to be observant for the - almost - hidden signals of resistance. Best luck!

How to Increase the Driving Forces and to Decrease the Restraining Forces?
ABDULRAHMAN, Student (MBA), Saudi Arabia, Member
This is a very interesting subject.
In organizational change we have to keep in mind the 8 steps for major change by Mr John Kotter.
By analyzing the current situation and comparing it to what we decided to do, we can see if we are on the right track to achieve our vision. By making small steps we keep going to achieve our goals, focusing on decreasing the obstacles, and analyzing the data from time to time.
All of this will really help us achieve our goals in a timely manner.

'Over the Entire Period': What Kind of Time Period?
j.a. karman, ICT Consultant, Netherlands, Member
@Jaap de Jonge: Excellent point. I am missing some views on the duration. A change project running 3 months is very different from one going to run 3+ years.

Frequency of Force Field Analysis
Jaap de Jonge, Editor, Netherlands
@J. A. Karman: Thank you. It depends on the circumstances how often you need to review the forces. Such circumstances include not only the length, but also the size, importance and budget of the change effort as well as other factors.
But at least take away from this discussion topic that you should not stick to just a single analysis at the beginning of your project (unless your project is relatively short and simple).

Decrease Restraining Forces and Increase Driving Forces
Maurice Hogarth, Consultant, United Kingdom, Premium Member
People don't resist change per se; they resist change that is not personally advantageous. “What’s in it for me?” is a universal reaction.
Buy-in and commitment comes from having a personal gain, the more direct and personal the better. No personal benefit? Expect, at best, neutrality. If losing out from the change, expect hostility. So:
  • Decrease the anti-change forces by showing how they prevent-restrict personal gain or pay-off.
  • Increase the pro-change forces by showing (or adding) a personal gain from them.
If there's no or only a small gain from the pain of changing, that will require deeper thinking to communicate and convince people of the personal benefits. Consider the "Itemized Response approach" of “How to…” in relation to each change concern raised by the analysis. Involve those affected in identifying: How to: overcome, prevent, strengthen etc. This participation could compensate for no/low personal benefit as it demonstrates “listening” and provides for “recognition”. These are major motivating forces.

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