In the world of project management, stakeholders are key for understanding everyone that touches the project. In fact, for a project’s success, managing the stakeholder’s expectation is vital. But can this way of thinking work outside the world of projects? Yes, it can!
Let’s start by grounding ourselves with the definition of what a stakeholder is. The dictionary describes a stakeholder as “a person with an interest or concern in something…” Going one step further, if the word “stakeholder” is fragmented into two words, it becomes self-explanatory. A stakeholder is someone that “holds” a “stake” to something that interests another. Therefore, stakeholders should not be ignored!
Understanding the people around you and how they react to various situations can help you when they are affecting something you hold dear. Think of your colleagues at work or your extended family. What happens when everyone gets together for a meeting or a party? Does everyone get along? At the workplace, it can be called “politics” or “playing the game.” At home, I describe it as a “soap opera” drama. Believe me, using the stakeholder analysis technique will enhance the way you manage these people. Especially if they can affect either your job, role, or chances of advancement.
Creating a stakeholder analysis table is quick simple. You start by creating a list of people you want to manage (or keep an eye on).
Next you place some columns to describe the level of influence and power you believe they have on you or yours.
Identify the levels by using low, med, high. For each of these levels, numerate them so it makes it easier to prioritize later who you need to work on first. For example, low = 1, med = 2, high = 3.
Establish the impact your stakeholders have by multiplying the influence and power numbers. Place the result in an impact column. The higher the score, the more power this person has on you at work or home. Therefore, managing their perception of you becomes important.
Close out the analysis table with two columns looking at your concerns in respect to the person and your actions of what to do about it. There may be a chance the person you have on your table is not affecting you at all. Keep sight of them by keeping them on the table without having to fill out the last two columns. But if you are going to be interacting with them and know from the past how bad things could get, then be proactive. Plan actions you can take if the situation arises during your encounter to avoid history repeating itself.
Keep in mind this technique is to help you so do not have the table lying around at home or at your workplace. Keep it in a safe place as you would a journal. The last thing you want to happen is someone that is on your table finds it.
Combining this technique with the ILM technique can even lower your stress level when managing the politics at work or the drama at a family function. It has you write out all the thoughts in your head, so you don’t overthink it. This way, instead of getting brain fog, confusing yourself with all the information floating in your mind, or stressing-out, you have a logical method helping you decide how to handle the person or persons. Give the stakeholder analysis technique a try this holiday season if you are going to a function, you’d rather skip but can’t and see how well it can help you prepare for a positive outcome.