In a previous article, “Stakeholder relations management is a key skill,” a matrix was developed to show how you can calculate a numerical value or rating for each stakeholder in order to prioritize multiple stakeholders. The number simply was the aggregate of numbers calculated by the rating of a stakeholder against several criteria or attributes, as in the matrix below.
|Desirable stakeholder attribute||Numerical importance
Access to decision makers
|Access to the media||8||X|
|Access to key information||8||X|
|Influence on other stakeholders||6||X|
|Sufficiently motivated to be active||5||X|
|Numerical importance of stakeholder on each attribute
We can make the prioritizing of stakeholders more sophisticated when we allocate a numerical weighting to the criteria themselves. For instance, if “Access to key decision makers” is considered the most important attribute in stakeholders, that category could be allocated a numerical weighting, say 10.
If “Access to the media” is considered important, but quite as important, it could be allocated a numerical weighting to reflect that, say 8.
The third attribute, “Access to key information,” might be considered to be the same importance as factor two, and therefore would be given a numerical weighting of 8.
The fourth attribute, “Able to influence other stakeholders,” might be given a weighting of 6, and the fifth attribute a weighting of 5.
Then for each stakeholder, you simply multiply the attribute importance by the stakeholder rating on that attribute to reach a number. For instance, “Access to decision makers” is given 10 for its importance, and the stakeholder in this example is given a rating of 4. Multiplying 10 by 4 gives a total of 40 for that stakeholder on that attribute. A different stakeholder might only have a rating of 2 or 3 on that attribute and therefore the resultant figure would be considerably less than the first stakeholder, ie 20 or 30 points in total.
You can work through all the important attributes and can add up all the totals to reach an aggregate for each key individual stakeholder or group.
Stakeholders can then simply be prioritized by their scores.
Finally, you can use this approach to add or delete criteria. For instance, if a stakeholder is actually a decision maker whose decision (or they represent a group) who are a major factor in the approval process, you can insert a line at the top of the spread saying something like, “Decision maker” or “Decision maker in their own right”. Clearly they would be the most important stakeholder of all. Remember that the criteria need to be the same for evaluating all the stakeholders.
The amount of time you should allocate to stakeholder relations management depends on the importance, size, difficulty and timing of your projects.
When you decide to embark on stakeholder relations management you can draw up an action plan table showing each stakeholder and several factors that can be considered.
For instance, for each stakeholder in the table you can outline:
It is important to consider carefully what you can offer them in return, because the stakeholder needs to gain something from the relationship or they may be reluctant to act as you wish them to do.
Then you can initiate a tailored program of communication for every significant stakeholder. The result is likely to be much more efficient and beneficial for your organization and your stakeholders than if you don’t do it.
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