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Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Prioritizing and understanding stakeholders

To prioritize stakeholders and understand their needs and expectations is one of the core aspects for any organization. Knowing these things we can control their impact by implementing an appropriate system of communicating with them.  

Mapping stakeholders on Power/Interest Matrix is a helpful technique to realize how much influence and interest particular stakeholders have in relation to a particular issue. Accordingly it allows us to determine what steps should we take towards them in order to build good relationships between them and our organisation.

Power/Interest Matrix

The stakeholder’s position on the grid informs us what actions we should take (by Rachel Thompson):

·        High power, interested people: these are the people you must fully engage and make the greatest efforts to satisfy.
·        High power, less interested people: put enough work in with these people to keep them satisfied, but not so much that they become bored with your message.
·        Low power, interested people: keep these people adequately informed, and talk to them to ensure that no major issues are arising. These people can often be very helpful with the detail of your project.
·        Low power, less interested people: again, monitor these people, but do not bore them with excessive communication.

To get to know how to communicate with our key stakeholders we can ask the following questions (by Rachel Thompson):

·        What financial or emotional interest do they have in the outcome of your work? Is it positive or negative?
·        What motivates them most of all?
·        What information do they want from you?
·        How do they want to receive information from you? What is the best way of communicating your message to them?
·        What is their current opinion of your work? Is it based on good information?
·        Who influences their opinions generally, and who influences their opinion of you? Do some of these influencers therefore become important stakeholders in their own right?
·        If they are not likely to be positive, what will win them around to support your project?
·        If you don't think you will be able to win them around, how will you manage their opposition?
·        Who else might be influenced by their opinions? Do these people become stakeholders in their own right?

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