How to Build Stakeholder Analysis and Galvanize Consensual Understanding


Define Organizational Stakeholders

Stakeholders are identified by examining the way that they interact with the organization in providing or receiving services or benefits. Stakeholders may include  external or internal persons, groups, systems, and other organizations that interact with the organizational group or a specific process.

Process Stakeholders

Process stakeholders are identified by examining  contributions to the process (inputs) and their benefits or what they receive from the process (outputs). The three-step approach below helps identify process stakeholders.

Step One – Identify inputs

  1. What are the inputs to the process or, what goes into the process? Consider using the FAST Creativity Exercise to help prevent omissions.
  2. Who provides each input identified in Activity 1 (immediately above). Associate the source(s) of each input.
  3. How is the input used? Describe the activities and how each is performed.

Step Two – Identify outputs

  1. What are the outputs of the process? These are usually “things” or nouns such as a form, report, or event (eg, deposit).
  2. Who uses or benefits from the output of the process—associate the client(s) or customer(s) of each output.
  3. How is the output created? Describe activities that are dependent on the outputs and how each is further transformed into something of value.

Step Three – Identify stakeholders

  1. Each input/ output can be linked to one/ more stakeholder by one/ more activity within a process. A stakeholder relationship shown in the table below clarifies the relationship between stakeholder, input, output, and activity within the process.
Stakeholders’ Relationships

Group Stakeholders

Stakeholders can be grouped together according to how they use or interact with the inputs and outputs. From the table above members and employers can be grouped together as one stakeholder group called “Payers” as they interact with the collection process in the same manner.

Acknowledge Stakeholder Interests

The motives and needs of the stakeholders determine their interest in the process and indicate how they can contribute/ derail the success of the project.

Define Stakeholder Strategy Plan

The stakeholder strategy plan is a blueprint for the BPI (ie, Business Process Improvement) team’s interaction with stakeholders. The focus on the stakeholder’s contribution shows how the team can use the stakeholder’s interests to support the project and make it successful.

The plan identifies

  • What the project wants to achieve with each stakeholder
  • Stakeholder issues and interests
  • How stakeholders will be managed
  • The frequency of communication
  • The changing content of communication over the life of the project

The plan is dynamic meaning that it must be constantly updated to reflect changes in stakeholder opinions over the life of the project. The template below supports development of the stakeholder strategy plan.

Stakeholder Strategy Plan Answers . . .

Stakeholder Name:_____________________________

  • The objectives of the strategy plan are . . .
  • It is important for the project to have a stakeholder plan because . . .
  • The purpose of the process is to . .  . So that . . .
  • Give a short description of the stakeholder group:
  • The members of this stakeholder group are . . .
  • Describe this group’s role in the process.
  • Identify inputs the group provides:
  • Identify outputs the group uses:
  • The stakeholder thinks that the current process . . .
  • The stakeholder thinks this because . . .
  • The stakeholders interest in the current process . . .
  • The stakeholder’s power in the current process . . .
  • The stakeholder thinks that the BPI project . . .
  • The stakeholder’s likely reaction:
  • The stakeholder wants . . . from an improved process.
  • It is important for the stakeholder to support the project because:
  • Without the stakeholders support . . .
  • The stakeholders support . . .
  • The stakeholder can contribute to the success of the project by . . .
  • The stakeholder can hamper the project by . . .
  • The BPI team wants the stakeholder to . . .
  • The three things that are important to the stakeholder are:
  • The team can guarantee . . .
  • We need to tell the stakeholder . . .
  • We need to tell them because . . .
  • The best way to communicate with this group is to  . . .
  • This will cost (prepare a budget):
  • We need to meet with this group because/ when:
  • At what points in the project is it critical to meet with each stakeholder?
  • How do we deal with confidentiality issues?
  • Can each team member be privy to all information?
  • Can each stakeholder be privy to all information?
  • What is the strategy to ensure that confidential information stays that way?

Develop a Communications Action Plan

The communications action plan identifies exactly how and when a project team will communicate with each target audience (or stakeholder) over the life of the project. The plan is flexible, as it is updated over the life of the project and recognizes the need for intervention and ad hoc meetings. Match the communications plan with your project milestone and plan outreach to the stakeholders and staff at critical points of your project.

Consider the need for different types of meetings. One-way communications may be appropriate when the team needs to reveal the decisions made and share information. Facilitated workshops can be used for decision-making and to encourage participation ad ownership. Ad hoc meetings may be held to deal with negative situations and to negotiate among stakeholders. The communications action plan provides significant input for the change management plan.

Determine Stakeholder Risks

The amount of power each stakeholder/ stakeholder group enjoys now and the extent to which this power will change is a good indicator of the level of resistance the stakeholder will have to the project. The more pain that the stakeholder is asked to absorb and the more power/ status (s)he loses, the greater the resistance. The figure below can be used to predict the amount of resistance from the stakeholder group.

Resistance

Mitigate Behavior

From our analysis, we can develop an action plan to encourage the positive behaviours and limit the negative behaviors. A stakeholder analysis recognizes the fragility of the human condition and sensitivity to its environment. Your team must constantly monitor and evaluate stakeholders’ reactions by revisiting the stakeholder analysis at each milestone in your project.

Conclusion

Stakeholders (internal and external) have invested interests in your project and can provide positive support. It is the project team’s responsibility to identify stakeholder contributions and extract it from them. The project team needs to be aware of the impact a project may have on each stakeholder and their power base, and develop strategies that are appropriate for advancing their project.

Become Part of the Solution, Improve Your Facilitation Skills

The FAST curriculum on Professional Facilitation Skills details the responsibilities and dynamics mentioned above. Remember friends, nobody is smarter than everybody, so consult your FAST Facilitator Reference Manual or attend a FAST professional facilitative leadership training workshop offered around the world (see MG Rush for a current schedule — an excellent way to earn 40 PDUs from PMI, CDUs from IIBA, or CEUs).

Daring you to embrace the will, wisdom, and activities that amplify the skills of a facilitative leader.

Related articles

How to Facilitate an After Action Review


Purpose

Here is a workshop approach for reviewing a project, program, or initiative.  While given various names, we will refer to this workshop as the After Action Review.  It provides a group reflection by those involved to learn what happened so that we can improve future performance.

The After Action Review has also been referred to with titles such as After-Action Debriefing, a Look Back, a Post Mortem, or a Hot Wash, among others.  The After Action Review ought provide a candid discussion of actual performance results compared to objectives.

The input and perspectives required are the engagement participants who have insight, observation, or questions that will help identify and correct the deficiencies, or leverage the strengths, of the completed project.  An After Action Review is not intended to critique, grade success, or failure.  Rather, it is intended to identify weaknesses that need improvement and strengths that might be sustained.

In a learning culture, collaborative inquiry and reflection are highly valued.  The US Armed Forces approach has five basic guidelines that govern its After Action Reviews, namely:

  1. No sugar coating
  2. Discover the “ground truth”
  3. No thick skins
  4. Take notes
  5. Call it like you see it

With an After Action Review, being open, candid, and frank is highly valued.  Not many groups are capable of complete candor, but it should be encouraged and expected.  Participants are asked to identify mistakes they made as well as observations about others.  Any other use of the confidential discussions should be discouraged or prohibited, such as performance evaluations.  Focus  on what can be learned, not who can be blamed.

This workshop typical takes from one to five days.  It may include twenty to thirty people or more, but not necessarily everyone at once, with participation spread out over the course of the workshop.

Agenda/  Project or Major Activity

Introduction/  Standard introduction with emphasis on the project objectives and impact of the project on the organizational holarchy, including key assumptions or constraints.

Success Objectives/  Results are compared to the SMART objectives.  What worked and hampered are captured as input for later discussion.  Other questions are asked about why certain actions were taken, how stakeholders reacted, why adjustments were made (or not), what assumptions developed, and other questions as appropriate.

Goals and Considerations/  Results are compared to the fuzzy goals and other considerations.  What worked and hampered are captured as input for later discussion.  Questions are asked about why certain actions were taken, how stakeholders reacted, why adjustments were made (or not), what assumptions developed, and other questions as appropriate.

What Worked & Hampered/  Input from above stimulates discussion about options and conditions to be leveraged in subsequent projects.

Issues and Risks/  Assess or build risk management plan and other next steps or actions (eg, Guardian of Change) by the team.

Wrap-up/  Standard FAST review and wrap-up

This workshop can handle more than twenty people, with frequent use of break out groups.  Do not hesitate to partition the workshop so that participants may come and go as required.  The approach is intended to help shift the culture from one where blame is ascribed to one where learning is prized, yet team members are willingly accountable.

Some ground rules and guidelines that have proven successful in past include:

  • Focus on the objectives first
  • Do not judge success or failure of individuals (ie; judge performance, not the person)
  • Encourage participants to raise any and all potentially important issues and lessons
  • Conduct consistently after all significant projects, programs, and initiatives

For learning organizations, it has been suggested that the following are critical to understanding successful After Action Reviews, namely:

  • Some of the most valuable learning has developed from the most stressful situations
  • Use facilitators who understand the importance of neutrality and do not lecture or preach
  • Transform subjective comments and observations into objective learning by converting adjectives such as “quick” into SMART criteria (ie, Specific, Measurable, Adjustable, Relevant, and Time-Based) such as “less than 30 seconds.”

Effective use of After Action Reviews should support a mindset in  organizations that are never satisfied with the status quo—where candid, honest, and open discussion evidences learning as part of the organizational culture.

Become Part of the Solution, Improve Your Facilitation Skills

The FAST curriculum on Professional Facilitation Skills details the responsibilities and dynamics mentioned above. Remember, nobody is smarter than everybody, so consult your FAST Facilitator Reference Manual or attend a FAST professional facilitative leadership training workshop offered around the world (see MG Rush for a current schedule — an excellent way to earn 40 PDUs from PMI, CDUs from IIBA, or CEUs).

Do not forget to order Change or Die if you working on a business process improvement project. It provides detailed workshop agendas and detailed tools to make your role easier and your team’s performance a lot more effective—daring you to embrace the will, wisdom, and activities that amplify a facilitative leader.

Related articles

Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life


Some of the best books about facilitation, do not mention the term or role of a “facilitator”.  Take Dr Wayne Dyer‘s book for example, “Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life.”

We have always argued that effective facilitation begins with clear thinking, that unclear speaking or imprecise writing are indicative of unclear thinking.  Dr Dyer’s transliteration of “The Tao“, also called “Living the Wisdom of the Tao.”

The 17th verse begins and completes as follows:

With the greatest leader above them,

people barely know one exists . . .

 . . . The great leader speaks little,

He never speaks carelessly.

He works without self-interest

and leaves no trace.

When all is finished, the people say,

“We did it ourselves.”

One can easily substitute the term facilitator for leader or include the adjective “facilitative” in front of the term, as in “facilitative leader.”  Modern, facilitative leaders create an environment that is conducive to productivity, where all of the meeting participants feel that they have a personal responsibility to contribute and own the outputs, the deliverables.  Clear learnings that we can import from Dr Dyer’s treatment of the 17th verse also include:

  • Facilitators create an environment that helps everyone act responsibly.
  • Effective facilitators are able to make themselves visible when the group reaches high performance mode.  Although most groups do not reach this level, when they do, the facilitator becomes a scribe.
  • When it is time for accolades, facilitators dissolve in the background, wanting the participants to feel that the accomplishments derive from their own talents.
  • Instead of believing that they know what is best for a group, they trust the group participants and the method to generate what is best for them.
  • The surest way to gain the trust and confidence of participants is to allow them to make as many deacons as possible.  Avoid grabbing the low-hanging fruit by answering simple content.  Put even the simplest items in the form of a question.

Try being more neutral as a business agent, friend, spouse, family member, parent, etc. and be surprised by the results of people who will live up to their own answers.  Remember, there is usually more than one correct answer, the real question is the taste for risk and reward, but that is another topic to be covered on a future Thursday.

Facilitation Skills

The FAST curriculum on Professional Facilitation Skills details the responsibilities and dynamics mentioned above. Remember friends, nobody is smarter than everybody, so consult your FAST Facilitator Reference Manual or attend a FAST professional facilitative leadership training workshop offered around the world (see MG Rush for a current schedule — an excellent way to earn 40 PDUs from PMI, CDUs from IIBA, or CEUs)

 

Five Compelling Business or Organizational Reasons to Hold a Facilitated Session


Purpose

The most important action most people take every day is to make choices, to decide.  Productivity is amplified if decisions are properly made about when to work alone, speak with one other person, or to pull together a group of people, typically called a meeting.

The advantages to a facilitated meeting or workshop include:

  1. Higher quality results: groups of people generally make higher quality decisions than the smartest person in the group.  Facilitated sessions encourage the exchange of different points of view enabling the group to identify new options, and it is a proven fact that any person or group with more options at its disposal makes higher quality decisions.
  2. Faster results: facilitated sessions can accelerate the capture of information, especially if the meeting participants (aka subject matter experts) arrive prepared with an understanding of the questions and issues that need to be discussed.
  3. Richer results: by pooling skills and resources, diverse and heterogeneous groups develop more specific details and anticipate future demands, subsequently saving time and money in the project or program life cycle.
  4. People stimulate people: properly facilitated sessions can lead to innovation and the catalyst for innovative opportunities because multiple perspectives generate a richer (360 degree) understanding of a problem or challenge, rather than a narrow, myopic view.
  5. Transfer of ownership: facilitated sessions are oriented toward further action by creating deliverables that support follow-up efforts.  Professional facilitators use a method that builds commitment and support from the participants, rather than directing responsibility at the participants.

Description

Conducting facilitated sessions includes preparatory time, actual contact time during the session, and follow-up time as well.  Therefore, successful sessions depend upon clearly defined roles, especially distinguishing between the role of facilitator and the role of methodologist (that are also discrete from the role of scribe or documenter, coordinator, etc.).  Carefully managed sessions also embrace ground rules to ensure getting more done, faster.

Much effort may be provided before the session to ensure high productivity, including:

  • Researching both methodological options and content to be explored
  • Review and documentation of minutes, records, findings, and group decisions that affect the project being supported with this particular meeting or workshop session
  • Completion of individual and small group assignments prior to sessions

When conducted properly, meetings with groups of people are strenuous for everyone involved, which is why they may be called workshops or workouts.  Therefore, avoid an overly ambitious agenda and plan for at least two, ten-minute breaks every four hours. Use our FAST ten-minute timers to ensure that breaks do not extend to eleven or twelve minutes. Strive to provide dedicated resources, such as a facilitator professionally trained in structured methods.

Discourage unplanned interruptions, especially through electronic leashes. “Topless” meetings are increasingly popular, meaning no laptops or desktop devices (eg, smart phones) except for accessing content needed to support the session. “No praying underneath the table” is another expression used to discourage people from using their gadgets on their laps, presumably beyond the line of sight of others, when in fact, everyone can see what they are doing anyway. For serious consensual challenges or multiple day sessions, sessions should be held away from the participants’ everyday work site to minimize interruptions and everyday job distractions.

Become Part of the Solution, Improve Your Facilitation Skills

The FAST curriculum on Professional Facilitation Skills details the responsibilities and dynamics mentioned above. Remember friends, nobody is smarter than everybody, so consult your FAST Facilitator Reference Manual or attend a FAST professional facilitative leadership training workshop offered around the world (see MG Rush for a current schedule — an excellent way to earn 40 PDUs from PMI, CDUs from IIBA, or CEUs).

Daring you to embrace the will, wisdom, and activities that amplify the skills of a facilitative leader.

Bad Predictions for Science and Technology


One of the biggest challenges with facilitation is to build consensus about a future state.  In a light-hearted sense, as we approach the holiday season, here are some statements that  likely garnered some respect along the way—albeit short-lived.

Get Out of the Box

  • “Inventions have long since reached their limit, and I see no hope for further developments.” Roman engineer Julius Sextus Frontinus, AD 10.
  • “That’s an amazing invention, but who would ever want to use one of them?” President Rutherford B. Hayes to Alexander Graham Bell, 1876.
  • “It doesn’t matter what he does, he will never amount to anything.” Albert Einstein’s teacher to his father, 1895.
  • “I have anticipated [radio’s] complete disappearance — confident that the unfortunate people, who must now subdue themselves to ‘listening-in’ will soon find a better pastime for their leisure.” H.G. Wells, The Way the World is Going, 1925.
  • “The problem with television is that the people must sit and keep their eyes glued on a screen; the average American family hasn’t time for it.” The New York Times, after a prototype television was demonstrated at the 1939 World’s Fair.
  • “It would appear we have reached the limits of what it is possible to achieve with computer technology, although one should be careful with such statements; they tend to sound pretty silly in five years.” Computer scientist John von Neumann, 1949.
  • “Man will never reach the moon, regardless of all future scientific advances.” Radio pioneer Lee De Forest, 1957.
  • “Despite the trend to compactness and lower costs, it is unlikely everyone will have his own computer any time soon.” Reporter Stanley Penn, The Wall Street Journal, 1966.
  • “But what is [the microchip] good for?” Engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM, 1968.
  • “I predict the Internet…will go spectacularly supernova and in 1996 catastrophically collapse.” Bob Metcalfe, InfoWorld, 1995

These were first compiled by Laura Lee and published in The Futurist, September-October 2000,  For structured facilitation support, see your FAST Facilitator Reference Manual or attend a FAST Professional Facilitative Leadership training  session offered around the world (see http://www.mgrush.com/ for a current schedule).

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,757 other followers