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The Nature of Support


Disciplines > Change Management > Stakeholders in change > The Nature of Support

Personality | Commitment | Impact | See also


Much analysis of people in change is focused on those who resist and oppose change. This is missing a significant trick: you can gain at least two benefits from analyzing the nature of the support you have.

  • You will better know how to use that support to make the change happen.
  • You may find how tentative that support is and know how to shore it up.

Understand their personality

Go look at the analysis factors for the nature of opposition. Many of these may be applied in a similar sense to understand the nature of support. You may also look at other preference factors to determine their tendencies.

Understand their commitment

Understand the decision process whereby they decided to support the change. If you understand what persuaded them, you will be better able to keep them persuaded. You may also be able to use the same approach with others.

  • Are they ready to be a Leadership or do they just want to Follow?
  • If they are following, what persuaded them? (your vision, persuasive skills, etc.)
  • If they want to lead, what opportunities do they see? (advancement, contribution, etc.)
  • What support are they ready to give? (One-to-one, public, use of authority, etc.)
  • How 'change ready' are they? (raring to go, tiptoeing forward, etc.)

Also consider the potential that they have for going the other way, and becoming opponents against the change. This can be a disastrous event as they may take other people with them.

  • What are their expectations? What's in it for them? What would they think if they did not get what they expect? What would they do?
  • What would cause them to become opponents of the change? How easily would they be tipped over into opposition?

Understand the impact of their support

Some people can have a far greater level of impact with the supportive actions that they can take. This may be due to their formal position and the direct authority they have. It may also be to their social position -- some people are strongly networked and have a surprising number of friends. You can thus ask:

  • What connection do they have to other people? What is their job history? What is their social position? Are they a strong networker?
  • How effective would their support be? Would they be able to convert others? How powerful would those others be in sustaining the change? How many others could they convert?

See also

The nature of opposition, Preferences

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