Perform a stakeholder analysis to identify your key project influencers – and opposers.
When it comes to managing projects and implementing ideas, your actions can affect a lot of people. And some of them will have more influence than others.
Knowing who these influential people are – before you start a project or initiative – is incredibly important. This is because you're more likely to succeed if you have their support.
But how can you identify these key people? This is where conducting a stakeholder analysis is useful. There are three steps to doing this.
First, you brainstorm a list of people who might have an interest in your project. They could include your boss, senior executives, colleagues, clients, shareholders, or even trade associations or people in the community.
You might have a long list once you're done, and that's fine – some of these people will have a big influence on what you're doing, while others will have none at all.
In step two, you're going to plot all of these people on a Power Interest Grid to get a visual representation of their influence. As you can see, it’s divided into four quadrants. The actions you take will depend on where they are on the grid.
Plot people vertically – based on how powerful they are – and horizontally – based on how much interest they have in your project. For instance, imagine you've identified four people who have a stake in your project. These are your boss, Diego; your colleagues, Sarah and Adi; and a senior executive, John.
Diego and John both have a great deal of power and interest in your project, so you need to place them in the upper right-hand quadrant. You'll want to work closely with both of them during implementation.
Sarah and Adi, on the other hand, have a great deal of interest in your project but little power. They'll both go in the lower-right quadrant. You won’t work closely with them, but you'll want to keep them informed of your progress.
Once you've plotted all your stakeholders on the grid, you need to find out what motivates them. For instance, what financial or emotional interest do they have in your project? Who influences their opinions? You'll likely find that some of your stakeholders will be avid supporters of what you're doing, while others might try to block your efforts. You can refine the grid by color-coding each person's name, depending on whether you think they'll be a supporter or a critic.
In our example, Diego, Adi, and Sarah support your project, while John opposes it. So you'll need to do some work to win him round.
To find out more about stakeholder analysis, as well as the actions you can take to manage your stakeholders effectively, read the article that accompanies this video.