The number one cause of failure for change efforts is a lack of buy-in and commitment from the key stakeholders. Anyone who has the influence (formal or informal leader) to kill or significantly stifle the initiative is a key stakeholder.
- Begin by listing the names on the left-most column of people who must be behind this initiative for it to be successful. In almost all cases, the list includes individual names, unless it makes sense to group some names.
- For each person, place a symbol (such as a star) in the column to signify where the person currently is in terms of their support for this initiative BASED ON THEIR BEHAVIOR AND ACTIONS (not on what they say).
- Place another symbol (such as a circle) in the column signifying where they need to be for the initiative to be successful. Note that typically not everyone needs to be strongly supportive. Sometimes it’s good enough to just them them in a neutral state so they don’t throw road-blocks during the process. There are even times when we want a key stakeholder to back off because they make be perceived to have a self-serving special interest in the initiative.
Once you have this complete, the next step in the process is to complete the Influence Strategy Template, which is shown below.
For each stakeholder:
- Identify the anticipated issues or concerns the person may have.
- Then identify what you will do to address these concerns. In most cases, this involved a one-on-one meeting with someone who the key stakeholder respects – and can address the issues and concerns.
- Finally, list the person who will positively influence the key stakeholder and when it will occur.