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May 6
May the Force (Field) Be With You

This past week I taught a 3 day workshop for the American Management Association entitled Management Skills for Administrative Professionals. The class was a great group of highly experienced administrative assistants who were eager to learn some new skills to make them more effective.  We learned several management tools during the course, one of them a Force Field Diagram.  I hadn't used this one in some time and thankfully the refresher reminded me what a great tool it is.

The Force Field Diagram is a model built on this idea that forces - persons, habits, customs, attitudes Forcefieldanalysis_2- both drive and restrain change.  It can be used at any level (personal, project, organizational, network) to visualize the forces that may work in favor and against change initiatives.  The diagram helps its user picture the "tug-of-war" between forces around a given issue. Usually, there is a planned change issue described at the top, and two columns below. Driving forces are listed in the left column, and restraining forces in the right column. Arrows are drawn towards the middle. Longer arrows indicate stronger forces. The idea is to understand and make explicit all the forces acting on a given issue.

Typically, change is met with resistance, but by using the Force Field Diagram, you can see the specific areas most likely to cause the resistance and deal with them accordingly to make the change happen.

What does that mean for you?

ThinkMarino_ba about a change you'd like to make in your life.  Maybe it's losing weight, or quitting smoking, or being a more empathetic boss.  Consider all the reasons you should make the change, then think about what's causing you to hesitate.  My goal for the past year has been to 25 pounds.  The driving factors for the change are pretty obvious:  more energy, better health, no need to buy bigger clothes, no hesitation to take my shirt off at the pool this summer.  Great motivation, but up until last week it wasn't enough to make me get started.  Taking a look at the restraining forces, it became clear:  not enough time, too hard to put together the right foods, not wanting to sacrifice my favorite food, the challenge of trying to eat right while traveling, hating the feeling of being hungry, hating small portions, etc. etc. etc.  By stacking these up in a Force Field Diagram, it became clear to me that my goal was doable provided I could solve the portion/food choice problem.  I did that with NutriSystem for Men.   Now of course it's not been easy, but the first week's finished and I lost 9 pounds.  The forces that restrained me from the change, once identified, were dealt with and now I'm on my way.  So far I've not felt hungry or weak, putting together meals is simple, and the results are encouraging.

What does this mean for you?  Use the Force Field Diagram to map out your desired change.  If you've not achieved it thus far, list out the restraining forces and closely scrutinize the strongest ones.  Once you deal with those appropriately, you'll feel a sense of freedom and relief as you realize the goal is achievable. 

Make this week the beginning of a new journey to health, wellness, success, dream achievement.  What's holding you back?

Not telling you what to do, but offering you a GOOD suggestion!


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