I'd like to share with you my experiences in managing stakeholders, this is just one example of how to go about it..
My chosen step wise approach is a) define the problem, b) fully understand the situation and c) lead discussions to gain consensus on the way forward and with stakeholder buy-in. I consistently worked across many organisational levels and boundaries utilising a variety of communication and negotiation techniques e.g. presenting the problem definition in written form, setting up a dialogue (e.g. conference call/meeting) to openly discuss and iteratively documenting options/conclusions to take forward for stakeholder agreement.
As an overriding principle I strongly believe that acting towards others in a way that engenders trust is a sure fire way of achieving the best outcome for all.
NB for the purpose of anonymity the roles and issue details referenced are hypothetical.
The Business Issue - Context
• Business Issue ; statement (Voice of stakeholder #1)
“We have no confidence that the promised Service Operating
Model will be in place in time for the Service launch.
Our Service Operations and Customer Services simply
won’t be ready and we have no fallback option”
• Consequence statement (Voice of stakeholder #2)
“If action is not taken immediately we will have no choice but
to postpone the launch indefinitely”
Slide No. 3
How I resolved it - ‘My approach’
• In seeking the Exec’s buy-in to me resolving the issue,
my chosen approach followed 4 key activities :-
1) Seek Exec’s consensus of the ‘as is’ situation
2) Gain understanding of the exec’s perspectives of
the situation, the business impacts and desired goal
3) Propose ideas and gain consensus on what to take
forward and personally lead the discussions
4) Propose, agree & clarify next steps to achieve the
outcome and lead the activities
Slide No. 5
like to Exec’s?
How can we
How I resolved it...1) ‘Seek to understand’
“These are the likely
impacts and effects..”
“It will be achieved when I
can see that...... has
happened and also that...”
“I require these.....
to be in place... and
“This is what I see
the issue being
I ran this process with exec’s until I had the full picture
Jeff GardnerSlide No. 6
• Taking into account the Exec’s input, I put forward
ideas outlining the following :-
4) Time/Cost to implement
• I briefed each of the exec’s individually and then
collectively in seeking their agreement/approval on
which idea to take forward
• I developed an exec’s management/reporting plan*
• I worked consultatively with the exec’s and managers
* See back up slides #15 & 16 Slide No. 7
How I resolved it...2) ‘Ideas & Execution’
• After 6 weeks the issue was resolved with an agreed
list of concessions and risk managed items
• Subsequently the Service was launched successfully
although with a minor delay
• The ‘lessons learned’ were documented for future
launches (‘ask’ of Stakeholder #2)
Slide No. 8
How I resolved it...3) ‘The end result’
The difficult stakeholder (Exec)
Slide No. 9 Jeff Gardner
• One Exec (Stakeholder #2) had a high interest and strong position.
• With more ‘at stake’ their chosen style was to object to proposals
thereby pushing others to compromise
• Recognising this I adapted both my inter-personal skills and stakeholder
management style accordingly :-
1. I invested time to reflect on the needs and anxieties that underlined
2. I expended more effort and exerted more organisational pressure to
satisfy their needs
3. I provided them with additional transparency on impacts, consequences
4. I escalated their issues/concerns more frequently for quick turnaround
5. I frequently communicated and met with them/their team to provide
updates and to consult on proposals
6. I adopted an empathetic attitude toward her predicament/concerns
7. I prioritised their needs ;when appropriate and with managers approval
Difficult Exec - ‘How I managed’
Slide No. 10
• Stakeholder management is pro-actively interacting
with persons, groups and/or organisations to align
interests and positions relative to a specific change
or outcome you are owning eg through a Project.
• The stakeholders interests are championed by a
nominated individual, group or organisation whom
the stakeholder trusts and delegates authority to act
on their behalf.
• In return the stakeholder is regularly engaged and
appraised on delivery status, progress risks and issues
according to pre-agreed criteria.
Stakeholder - ‘the definition’
Slide No. 12
• Depending on the impact to and importance of the
stakeholder, the interaction level is appropriately
high value stakeholders = strong buy-in
medium > high value stakeholder = active consultation
medium to low value stakeholder = maintain interest
low value stakeholder = kept informed
• Stakeholder’s can affect actions, outcomes and
influence results and therefore must be managed
Best practice stakeholder management
Slide No. 13
Slide No. 14 Jeff Gardner
Stakeholder Management - Matrix
Exec’s Management Plan
Exec’s/Stakeholders Position Interest Influence Knowledge
Head of XXXXXXXX Services Supportive Medium Medium Medium High
Head of XXXXXX Operations Supportive High High Low Medium
Head of XXXXXXX Services Supportive High High Medium Low
Head of XXXXXXXXX* Neutral Medium Low Medium Low
Head of XXXXXXXXX** Resistant High High High High
Group Head of XXXXXXXX Supportive High High High Medium
Group Head of XXXXXXXXX Supportive Medium High Medium Medium
**Manage Closely/Prioritise needs
* Increase engagement Jeff GardnerSlide No. 15
Exec/stakeholder – Weekly report
Work stream Proposed idea Status/Progress
Train the trainer RED Training late, recommend HQ based training
followed by regional call centres.
GREEN WEB development on track. Push campaign -
changes to IT back end needed to trigger
Set up Vendor as
AMBER Commercial pricing agreed. SLA’s not
agreed nor consistent across vendors. Recommend
review after 6 months of in-service.
Limit to frequent
AMBER Lost and Stolen not fully implemented
across systems. Update needed to IT back end.
Transition Assign full time PM GREEN PM assigned but requires prioritisation.
Eg to get Local to Group Service Desk running.
Commercial Accept interim risk
on possible returns
RED Change in pricing notification not issued.
Requires fast track agreement with Vendor.
CVM campaign aborted – requires SLT sign-off
Jeff GardnerSlide No. 16