Have you ever worked on an initiative only to find out that you don’t have support from people who will help you make it successful? I’d like to introduce you to the idea of Stakeholder Commitment as part of our ability to influence others and lead more effectively during change.
So what is a Stakeholder? Our definition of stakeholder is anyone who has an interest in the outcome of what you are doing. For example, if you are planning a dinner party, your guests are stakeholders related to the food you serve so it’s a good idea to know what they like and don’t like—otherwise you could find yourself in an awkward situation. I happen to be a person who likes to cook, Shrimp seems to be something people like, don’t like and some people are allergic to shellfish. So when entertaining I always find a way to know how my guests feel about shrimp and then I write it down.
In a business sense, you might be working on a way to hire people in your organization and because you need people to interview as part of the process you would consider them stakeholders. You’d want to know if they know how to interview, have time to help you with interviewing and provide them with an interview guide to use. When I first started consulting 12 years ago, I was helping a department head work on a business plan. I thought a more senior person in the organization was keeping his peers informed so they would support our work. We found out too far into the work that the support wasn’t there. We had to back up and bring the senior support along with us. While the work was successful, it could have been done more efficiently had we paid more attention to the senior sponsors along the way.,
There are at least 5 things to consider when working on change with stakeholders:
- What is their interest in what you are doing?
- What is their attitude? Positive, Neutral or Negative
- What is their position of influence in what you are trying to do? High, Medium or Low
- How ready are they to help you in the way that you need? Skilled and motivated, not skilled or motivated, in between
- Based on the answers above, how will you involve them in your work? Inform, Involve/Participate, Owner/Buy in
We recommend when planning a change initiative that you list all of the stakeholders and answer the five questions above. This will help you organize how to do your work and assure you have the support to make your work successful.
If you like using a template for something like this, we’ve attached our stakeholder commitment plan.
If we can help you with stakeholders or any other type of change initiative you can contact us here.