Sunday, November 7, 2010


When you hear the term “office politics”, a lot of you have a negative connotation, right? It implies smooching the bosses and greasing the way for your project.

Some of you like the term “stakeholder management” better.

I think they are the same, so it’s up to you to choose your perspective.

The reason stakeholder management is important is because the stakeholders around you are the ones that determine whether you are going to be successful or not.

You are NOT in this alone. So who are the stakeholders? All I know is that there are more of them than you originally thought.

Here’s a way of looking at this:

1) Identify your stakeholders. Do not do this alone. Involve your team, your boss, your peers, your customers and other (which are, of course stakeholders themselves). Put your job/project in the middle and keep scanning around you. Who can have (or will have) an INTEREST or INFLUENCE on your job/project. List them and as best as you can use personal names, not department names or organizations.

2) Hopefully, you realize that there are a lot of them. We don’t want to work more; we want to work smarter, so we have to give the different kind of stakeholders different kind of attention. One way of sorting them is by Influence and Interest. See the picture.

The easy ones are the “A”s. They are easily identified and they show themselves.
Look out for “B”s. They don’t easily show themselves, but they may stop your efforts and your project.
Manage the “C”s – they may not have too much influence today, but they may one day move to “B” or “A”.
Decide what to do about the “D”s.

3) Now: make a plan. For EACH stakeholder you have to know:
- What you want from her or what you want her to do.
- What the stakeholder wants.
- How to relate to each stakeholder in a way that creates a win-win.

I’m not going to pretend this is easy and done quickly. It is not, but I truly believe that it is so important that you must prioritize it.

Making this plan is the first step. Take stakeholder management seriously and the probability of your success increases.

Don’t do it alone.

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