1. Know your stakeholders
A stakeholder is anyone with an interest in the activities, team development or performance of your organisation. This can cover a huge variety of groups and individuals, from customers to regulatory bodies. Before you can properly manage your stakeholders, you need to conduct a stakeholder analysis that clearly defines each group of stakeholders, which you can do using our guide to stakeholder analysis.
2. Prioritise your stakeholders
Considering you may have hundreds of different types of stakeholder needs, prioritisation is key. You need to determine the potential influence of each stakeholder, in line with the amount of interest they have in the activities of your organisation. This gives you an idea of the importance of each stakeholder and the potential impact of meeting or ignoring their expectations. This process can be streamlined by identifying stakeholders using stakeholder analysis models, some of which are covered in the guide mentioned above.
3. Understand your stakeholder
Once you know who your most important stakeholders are, you need a clear picture of what they expect from you, and what you could benefit from offering them. Define what they need, what they want, and whether you should also satisfy the needs or wants of those who influence your stakeholders, particularly their supply chain. Don’t forget, speaking to stakeholders can often be the best way to gain this information.
4. Establish objectives for your stakeholders
Every organisation should have a strategic vision, with clearly defined objectives. When you have a comprehensive understanding your stakeholders, from who they are to what drives their influencers, it’s time to start planning. This is when you should be asking questions like, “Is the stakeholder happy with the current situation?”, “Is my manager training adequate” and “What can I do to improve relations?”
5. Align current strategy with your stakeholders
You need to do more than devise isolated stakeholder objectives. To really get the ball rolling, work from what you currently have in place. Take your existing strategies, for instance, managing internal expectations, and think about how they can be adapted to weave in the strategic objectives you’ve identified for managing your most important stakeholders. Or do your new objectives mean it’s time for a new strategy?