A construction company in Nigeria, with the aid of the state government, recently erected a toll gate in a part of the country with commuters expected to pay toll fees each time they passed through. A large number of people kicked against the initiative at the initial stage, causing its suspension. However, following increased communication between certain parties, and further enforcement by the state government, the toll fees were imposed by the government, and commuters were left with no choice other than to grudgingly accept them. This is a typical example of bad stakeholder’s management.

Stakeholder management is a vital knowledge employed by successful people to win support, recognition and acceptance from others. It helps them ensure that their projects succeed where others are failing. Basically, stakeholder management is the process of identifying and engaging all the people who will be positively or negatively affected by your proposed project. The more people you affect with your project, the more likely it is that your actions will impact people who have power and influence over your projects. These sets of people could be ardent supporters of your project – or they could work against it.

To properly manage your stakeholders, you will need to conduct an extensive Stakeholder Analysis. This is a technique used to identify the key people who have to be won over. The first step in any stakeholder analysis is to brainstorm and identify who your stakeholders are. You need to identify their power and level of interest over your project.

The next task is to prioritize the importance and relevance of these stakeholders to your project. Some of these may have the power to either block or advance your project. Some may be interested in what you are doing while others may not even care. Even those who have little or no interest in your projects should be carried along. Map out your stakeholders on a power/interest grid and classify them by their power over your work and by their interest in your work.

After mapping out your stakeholders, you need to understand them. You need to know how they are likely to feel about and react to your project. You also need to know how best to engage them in your project and how best to communicate with them. At this point, it will be good to conduct a survey (quantitative or qualitative and desk research) to ascertain their preferred means of communication, reactions to similar projects, and other related issues.  When you are armed with this information, dealing and relating with your stakeholders will be easy and you will have a better chance at successfully implementing your project.

By Abiola Olaonipekun 

I hope you found this useful.