Mapping all stakeholders in my company makes me aware of whom I have to keep happy. These might be investors or employees, or even my family.
How this helps you
Take good care of stakeholders, your personal and your business ones. They are your support and they want you to succeed. Be aware that they can handle a lot of bad news, but they hate surprises.
What is it?
Stakeholder mapping is a tool to visualise all your stakeholders: investors, customers, employees etc. The tool helps you not only to define the different stakeholder groups, but also helps to understand how to best manage engagement and communications with each of these groups.
There are different ways of mapping your stakeholders. Most common however is to apply a 2×2 matrix which maps for ‘low’ vs ‘high’ along the axes of ‘Interest’ and ‘Influence’. For stakeholders with ‘low interest and low influence’ you may focus on giving them regular updates and trying to increase their engagement. But make sure to prioritize your stakeholders with ‘high interest and high influence’ as they play a key role in the support you need to build the company.
How does it relate?
Each group of stakeholders will have a different impact and influence on your company. And their intereste may not always be completely in line with yours. But it is your job to manage the expectations of all stakeholders. Often it is the lack of effectively dealing with these different opinions that lead projects or companies to fail.
Surely you may not be able to make everybody equally happy. There are decisions to take which some of your stakeholders may not agree to. In such cases it is however important to know the relationships with stakeholders, how their influences contribute to your company and how necessary it is to make sure they are engaged with your goals.
Your next Waypoint
Make your own stakeholder map by following the next steps:
- Place a topic in the centre (e.g. your company, team or idea).
- Start writing down all the stakeholders you can think of on post-its.
- Stick the post-its on a canvas, mapping them along the axes (low vs high) for Interest and Influence. Order them into groups, and name the groups.
- Plan how to manage each group with communications to keep them involved and supporting.
Repeat this process with as many topics in the middle as useful to discover everything you need to know. Don’t hesitate to browse online for useful inspiration, different templates and suggestions.