Last week I wrote about the need to Be Of Service to Sponsors and Stakeholders, to be B.O.S.S. when it comes to leading change. Sponsors also need to be of service, to stakeholders. When I’m sharing strategies and tactics about helping sponsors to lead, I’m not letting them off the hook, they owe the stakeholders their attention, energy, and service.
The term “stakeholders” is somewhat misleading. Technically, a stakeholder is anyone impacted by a change. Yet all stakeholders are not the same. Sometimes we use this matrix to identify stakeholders:
Looking at this matrix, it’s not always clear which stakeholders are end users and which are political allies or opponents. I prefer to add information to clarify the role of the stakeholder as those who are end users must have more attention in the form of communication, learning development and support. Even though they may not wield the same level of power as a vocal high-powered stakeholder, their adoption is essential to the success of the change initiative.
As you work through your facilitated stakeholder sessions, ask often “Who is not on this list?” “Have we forgotten any stakeholder groups, end users or downstream, in planning?” following up with missed stakeholder groups will save hard feelings and time in the long run.
Communicating this information quickly and with clarity to the sponsor assists the sponsor, builds trust with the sponsor, and enables them to Be of Service to Stakeholders and in essence to the project and the successful adoption of change.