How You Win People for Change


Wie du Menschen für Veränderungen gewinnst


Perhaps you know it? Some people you win over for change with ease, and others are seemingly “hard cases” for you. But your colleague usually succeeds in winning over exactly these “tough guys”. Why is that? We humans have our own way of communicating, which also depends on what makes us tick and what is important to us. That’s why one person focuses on the big picture in communication and the other talks about the individual details. But what does it actually take to win people for change? 



These are the three components that matter 


  • SHOULD: The need for change – Why should we even go to the trouble of breaking out of habitual patterns? 
  • CAN: Then the ability to change – Is someone even able to change in this way? 
  • WANT: Finally, the willingness to change – Does someone want to go this new way? 

What does this mean in concrete terms? Imagine you want to introduce a new software in your company. Then it is important that the necessity is recognized. Why is the old one no longer sufficient? What is the big goal behind it? What exactly do you expect from it? Who in your industry has had success with it?

Secondly, it is important that the employees see themselves as capable of working with the new software. You can influence this with training, for example. By making the “mountain” lower. But it’s also a question of whether you trust internal IT, for example, to introduce this software. When these two points are met, the willingness to change can emerge. The important thing here is that intrinsic motivation must arise first and foremost. This means that you cannot force anyone to be ready or to want to change. But you can influence the  SHOULD and the  CAN and thus indirectly influence the WANT. 


What does this mean for companies in change processes? 

People need to understand why change is necessary if we want to win them over. One of the biggest mistakes companies make that causes change to fail is not showing enough sense of urgency. Especially with big changes, urgency is critical to people understanding the need (Source: change expert John Kotter). Who would have thought that, at least in Germany, everyone would be wearing mouth coverings within a very short time? This was only possible because the urgency was clearly demonstrated. So an important part of the change process is always 
communicating the goal/vision  and why that implies such urgency. In doing so, make it clear what this means for everyone. This can then create a willingness to change and intrinsic motivation to go along with this change. 


Debora Karsch, Managing Director and Master Trainer at persolog GmbH

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