Who are your stakeholders?

This month we will be focusing our blog on engaging stakeholders in your change effort. By definition, a stakeholder is any group or individual who can affect or is affected by the achievement of your organization’s objectives and/or your change effort.

As DeeAnne mentioned in her blog last Friday, most change efforts fail because the right people weren’t consulted, involved, or committed to the change. But who are the right people? Before launching into your change strategy, it is critical to conduct a stakeholder analysis. An analysis typically begins with a brainstorming session to identify groups and individuals who can either affect change or will be affected by the change effort.

After your initial brainstorm session, you may generate a very daunting list. This is where it can be helpful to narrow the list down by asking the following questions:

  1. Does the stakeholder have a fundamental impact on your organization’s performance?
  2. Can you clearly identify what you want from the stakeholder?
  3. Is the relationship dynamic — that is, do you want it to grow?
  4. Can you exist without or easily replace the stakeholder?

If you answered yes to the first three questions and no to the last question, this stakeholder group or person is vital to your change effort.

After identifying your stakeholders, you can then determine what actions you need to take to engage your stakeholders and keep them informed. Using a grid similar to the one below, where you determine stakeholder’s influence and interest levels, can help you with strategies to manage your stakeholder relationships effectively.

stakeholder management

There are many tools available to help you with stakeholder analysis and stakeholder management. For a set of easily adopted resources, I recommend visiting MindTools.

What tools have you found useful in identifying and managing your stakeholders?

Anita Rios




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