Analysis on interests and trust

When there are shared interests but no trust, it can be difficult for parties to cooperate. It also makes a difference whether a party with different interests trusts you as a partner. Use this matrix to understand the attitudes you can expect the various parties to take.


  • You can also map parties’ positions instead of their interests.
  • Carry out this analysis only after you’ve taken stock of the various actors. Write their names on sticky notes, and put them where they belong in the matrix.
  • Mark critical and/or influential parties by using a different colour, for example.
  • Be careful not to misrepresent or stereotype the target audiences.
  • The focus of the analysis is on discussing and evaluating the parties together. That’s why it’s good to conduct these analyses with the project team rather than outsource the work.

What the analysis means

  • Friends can provide support. It is important not to neglect them. Be candid in your communication with them.  Tell your friends what you’re doing so that they can help.
  • Partners can become friends if you invest in your relationship with them. But the relationship is fragile, and when another interest takes precedence, partners can become opponents. In your communication with them, emphasise your shared interests.
  • Opponents can keep you on your toes. Take advantage of the good relationship you have with these parties to engage in substantive dialogue. Is it possible to find any common interests? Approach these parties as you would an opposing team on the sports field – show respect, shake hands and afterwards go and grab a drink together.
  • Adversaries have a fundamentally different position and have little trust in you. If these parties are important to achieving the project’s goal, invest in improving your relationship with them. It’s often easier to find common ground with an opponent than with an adversary. Your communication style should be clear and to the point.