This is one of those exercises where it really helps to have someone else to ask the questions. The reason for this is that they can stay alert to what you are saying, help you focus on blind spots and ask the naïve questions which would never occur to you. So the questions below are really coaching questions for someone else to ask you; but if you are working on your own, they will still help greatly.
Working with a friend…
If you are working with someone who knows your role well, it will be vital that they work with you as a coach, not as a consultant. The best learning comes from them helping you to think it through, not by telling you what the answer is (in their view!).
- Explain your Influencing Goal briefly to the friend you are working with. They don’t need to know the detail, just the overall objective.
- Talk them through the people on your map and why you have placed them where you have.
Example Coaching Questions
- What is the balance like between the power of your Advocates and the other boxes?
- What are the main themes around agreement and disagreement among your stakeholders?
- Are there other organisational influences holding them back?
- How are the people on your map connected (or disconnected)?
- Are there any formal/informal groups involved?
- What gaps are there in your knowledge/insight which may help?
- Who can help you fill these gaps?
- Who do you need to add to the map?
- Who are the key people you need to get on-side?
- Who are the most influential people in the grey area?
- What are the main changes you need to focus on?
Deciding Your Strategy
- Take a few moments to note down your headline strategy.
- For each key stakeholder you need to move, you could specify a clear Influencing Goal to help you focus on what you’ve got to achieve in order to move them into the right place on the map. (And yes, this could lead to a new Stakeholder Influence Map as well if it is challenging enough!)