I can see you sitting there thinking “yes I know my stakeholders, what is he on about?” It is one thing to know who your stakeholders are, but do you know why they are involved in your project – what’s in it for them?
I had the privilege recently of working with a dynamic organisation on a stakeholder analysis of all of their stakeholders across all of their teams. Some teams were clear on who their stakeholders were, what influence they brought to bear on the programme, what influenced their stakeholders and how important they were. Most teams however had never thought about the ‘why’ of their stakeholders: what was in it for them? What did the stakeholders get out of the programme and how important was that to the programme?
By working through this process with each team and then reflecting on it as a whole group, the organisation realised that it could change some of the ways that it interacted with stakeholders to make the programme more powerful and relevant to the beneficiaries as well as to the stakeholders. The organisation also identified those stakeholders that in certain circumstances provided a negative influence and so could revise the way the programme worked in order to minimise that negative influence and maximise the positive influence.
Do you really know why your stakeholders are involved? Do you really know what’s in it for them?