April 23, 2024

Uses: Once the team knows who the key stakeholders are, the difficult task of figuring out a strategy to win their support begins. This simple planning tool can help the team assess the issues and concerns of each stakeholder who must be moved to a higher level of support for the project, and identify a strategy for doing so. Taking time to talk through the concerns important to each key stakeholder, and validating this with the individual involved, is time consuming but critical to the formulation of a strategy for influence. In this instance, an issue is something the stakeholder feels strongly about regardless of the change initiative (example: a Purchasing Manager will certainly have many issues around effective supplier management). likewise, each stakeholder will have one or more concerns regarding the change initiative itself (example: the same Purchasing Manager may be concerned that the change initiative not derail his own initiative that involves training employees in the new supplier management process).

Once key stakeholders are known and their political attitudes have been discussed (and verified), the job turns to one of building an effective strategy for influencing them to strengthen, or at a minimum, maintain their level of support. The team’s task is to determine what their issues and concerns are, who can best influence each individual, and how they are best influenced (one-on-one, informally, demonstrations like site visits, etc.).

How To Steps:

1. List the key stakeholders that need to be influenced. Remember that even if someone is already moderately or strongly supportive, they will have issues and concerns that need to be addressed by the team.

2. Discuss each stakeholders issues and concerns and agree on a method for validating these perceptions.

3. Identify “wins” for each stakeholder

(example: continue to play a key role in organizational decision making, etc…)

4. When the team has validated their understanding of the stakeholders issues and concerns, it is time to proceed with developing an influence strategy. At this point, it is often useful to consider a number of aspects of the influence process which may not have been addressed before:

A. What is this person’s “style”?

(Example: are they a statistical person who will be most likely to be swayed by data?)

B. What history needs to be taken into account as we talk about this individual? or, Does she/he have an issue with any of the team members that might make it difficult to support the initiative?)

C. Is there a part of the change initiative that, if we could give it to this person, would generate their support?

5. Be sure that assignments are made that will ensure that the influence strategy will be implemented appropriately and in a timely fashion.

6. OPTION: Some teams combine this discussion with the formulation of their communication campaign for change.

Timing: Anytime the team is discussing a key stakeholder whose support must be one.

Tips:

– This tool is very straightforward and easy to understand.

– The only trap some teams fall into is around the strategy itself.

– Careful thought needs to be given to who will have most impact on this individual, what is the nature of the message that needs to be delivered, and how and when should the influence process begin.