As you begin to identify the people who are most influential around your project, a vital consideration is their agenda. Figuring out what this is might at first sight appear easy; however, going beyond the professional agenda and into the realms of the personal can be a little tricky.
Once you have had a go with this exercise yourself, make sure and discuss it with other trusted friends who also know the stakeholders you are considering.
Make a list of your five most important stakeholders. For each one, try to figure out…
- What are the top 3 priorities on their Professional Agenda?
- What are the top 3 priorities on their Personal Agenda?
- What don’t you know about them which could help you?
- How do their priorities differ from your own?
- How are they similar to your own priorities?
- How can you adapt your approach to fit more closely with their agenda?
Your answers to the questions above are likely to be based on your existing knowledge (and assumptions) and now it is important to test out your theories. So now develop a plan of action to help increase your knowledge, maybe by meeting with them to ask a few careful questions in order to gain more insight. Remember, as someone famous once said, “seek first to understand.”