How To Build a Coalition of the Willing



“You cannot reason people out of a position that they did not reason themselves into.” — Ben Goldacre

You can build a better coalition with skill if you know the Coalition-Building Cycle.

The Coalition-Building Cycle is the key to building a support network and it helps you build momentum with your support network.

In The First 90 Days: Critical Success Strategies for New Leaders at All Levels, Michael Watkins writes about the Coalition-Building Cycle.

The Coalition-Building Cycle at a Glance

Watkins provides a visual of the coalition-building cycle:


The Coalition-Building Cycle Explained

Watkins outlines the key steps in the coalition-building cycle:

  1. Gaining allies helps you recruit others.
  2. Recruiting others increases your resource base.
  3. Increasing your resource base, increase the likelihood of your agenda’s success.
  4. Increasing the likelihood of your agenda’s success, helps you further in gaining allies.

Persuade Convincibles to Become Supporters

Persuade potential supporters that are on the line to support you before they tip the wrong way.

Watkins writes:

“Coalition building entails consolidating existing sources of support while developing relationships with those whose resources or connections you need to succeed. 

The sequence in which you consolidate and build support is key.  You will also need to persuade Convincibles to become supporters rather than opponents.”

Keep Your Allies Up To Date

Don’t take your existing support network for granted.  Connect early and often to reestablish support and to help address concerns.

Watkins writes:

“To consolidate existing support, call on established social and political relationships and strengthen them through regular conversations  Make sure you keep your allies up to date. 

Pay attention to how they react to changing conditions.  You can even provide them with advice on how to counter opponent’s arguments.  You want to affirm the importance of existing relationships and leverage them into support for your new effort.”

Key Take Aways

Here are my key take aways:

  • Build momentum by gaining allies.
  • Turn Convincibles into Supporters before they become opponents.
  • Strengthen your existing support through regular conversations.
  • Provide advice on how to counter opponent’s arguments.

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  1. I failed big time in building my support network. Someone even told me “you develop antagonism in people”. First step is done – i recognized the problem, now i need to improve here

    Thanks for sharing

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