Every change has its proponents and opponents. Some want a different future because they hope for benefits, others strictly reject change because they value the benefits of the status quo. Fighting is a classic reaction when different interests are involved. Fights are fought partly openly and partly covertly. They leave behind winners and losers, but also scorched earth, irreparable damage and injuries.

Different interests, which appear with every change, can, however, also be worked on more constructively. Opponents can become sparring partners, critical voices can provide important impetus in order not to fall when performing the balancing act that is a change project. It’s all about the right mindset.

As a change agent, you should not only concern yourself with your own world and stubbornly think in your own terms only. You must understand the interests of others, accept them as legitimate and be prepared to negotiate them. It is about giving other interests a place where they can be openly articulated and where there is a chance of a win-win solution. The opposite would be to make them taboo, to ‘discard’ other opinions without communicating or to quickly make rotten compromises. Invite opponents to dialog and negotiation in order to try and find common ground.


  1. Talk to key individuals among the opponents of change. Conduct a constructive, personal dialog with them. Explore diverging and common interests. Follow the mindset of turning ‘opponents’ into sparring partners.
  2. Form a sounding board of those affected. As a processor of change, you receive feedback from different interest groups on how to proceed, how to assess the situation or on the concept. Your most important mindset in this context is to take feedback seriously and appreciate the opinion of others.
  3. Change roles for 30 minutes in the course of a workshop. Turn the sales manager into the head of production, the logistics professional into a marketing manager etc. and let all express their expectations and emotions with the role they assumed.