The importance of stakeholder mapping

A STAKEHOLDER IS anyone, as an individual or a collective such as an organisation, that has an interest in or is concerned with the activities of your business to the extent they are affected by or can influence it. These can be customers, staff, suppliers, finance providers, donors, members, shareholders, regulators and many more. They are all important.

Far too often, you can work in isolation when developing and implementing a strategy for your business. A lack of wider awareness or consultation can then result in negative interactions with one or more key stakeholders when changes that affect them are sought to be implemented. A constructive process up to that point can often become stalled or extremely challenging.

Stakeholder Engagement is an important discipline therefore that successful businesses now use to target and win support from others thereby ensuring their strategy succeeds where others may fail. It identifies the key influencers who, following proactive engagement, will then positively support your plan and assist with its future implementation. The most common analysis technique used to achieve this involves considering your stakeholders under the following categories:

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High Interest and High Power
This group will be considered a key player and you will need to actively engage with it and its members. They are likely to have significant influence and may be the driver behind the change or strategy. They will likely have the power to stop your strategy going ahead if they are unhappy.

High Interest and Low Power
This group has an interest in what is happening with your business, however they are unlikely to have the power to influence change. You should keep this group informed. Whilst the members have little power themselves they could attempt to join forces with another powerful group.

Low Interest and High Power
This group of stakeholders has the potential to move into the ‘High Interest and High Power’ group so it is essential that you keep them satisfied. By keeping them satisfied, they are less likely to gain interest and exercise their power to influence.

Low Interest and Low Power
This group is unlikely to have an interest in your business and its direction. This is often due to their lack of power to influence the situation. They are likely to accept the position and show little if any resistance.

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Using the above definitions, you can produce a comprehensive Stakeholder Engagement Plan for your business which will then guide you on the necessary level of engagement required from the beginning and throughout your strategic planning process. From our experience this is proven to deliver the following benefits:

  • Stakeholders will fully understand what you are planning for your business, the reasons behind your thinking and how any change it will affect them in the future;
  • The opinions of your most powerful stakeholders can be used to help shape your thinking at an early stage thereby improving the quality of the finished strategy;
  • Support from key stakeholders will ensure that the required implementation resources for your strategy are forthcoming thereby reducing one of the most common risks of failure;
  • The opportunity to judge your stakeholder’s reaction to your strategy together with the ability to adapt where necessary can be crucial to its final approval i.e. no surprises on the day;

FITZGERALD Consulting has a proven methodology for developing highly effective strategic plans that deliver fantastic outcomes for our clients.

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