Becoming more strategic at managing and influencing your stakeholders requires that you take a structured approach to your work. The first step of the Stakeholder Influence Process requires that you get very clear on exactly what you want to achieve.
Step 1 — Focus: Assess your priorities and focus your Influencing Goal
The starting point is working out what you want to achieve. Sure, you will have lots of goals, but you need to get focussed in order to gain maximum progress with the Stakeholder Influence Process.
Pause and think of the most important goal you have right now.
I am sure you have lots of goals, but which one is most prominent in your mind right now? Settle on one to use over the next hour for your first trip through the Stakeholder Influence Process.
To achieve your goal, what have you got to influence to maximise the probability that you will succeed?
This is often slightly different to your actual goal. If you want to achieve a 5% market share for your product within the next year (your key goal), the most important thing you have to influence could be that the board buys into your strategy and gives you the funding you need. Alternatively, the key influence may be to get the legal team to agree that it is prudent to move forward on the project.
Your answer to this question will establish your Influencing Goal, which is orientated towards creating a change of some sort in a defined group of people, or an individual. This will now be your focus for the Stakeholder Influence Process.
You’ll have lots of things you need to influence for each goal, and likely many different goals. So keep it simple and focus on just one right now, which you think is really important to your progress. Later, you can come back and do the process again for other challenges and goals.