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We have already seen that people in positions of power can have a negative impact on your projects and on your position. With a little effort, some of them could become strong supporters rather than a source of stress.

Manage Your Stakeholders

If you are to progress in your career, it is important to identify potential allies – people who have sufficient influence to make a difference to what you are doing. As you become more successful in your career, the work you do, the actions you take, and the projects you run will affect more and more people. It is vital for your success that these “stakeholders” – especially those with the most power over you – are solidly behind what you are doing. Stakeholder management can ensure that your projects will succeed where others fail, and will enable you to manage the intense politics that are so much a part of the stress of major projects. People who are top achievers in their jobs will usually use the technique of stakeholder management to gain the support they need.

Identify the Stakeholders

Think about who your stakeholders are – all the people who are affected by your work, who have influence or power over it, or who have an interest in its successful (or unsuccessful) conclusion.

At Work

  • Your manager

  • Senior executives

  • Alliance partners

  • Shareholders

  • Your co-workers

  • Your team

  • Customers

  • Suppliers

Outside Work

  • The government

  • Trade associations

  • Interest groups

  • Lenders

  • The public

  • Prospective customers

  • The community

  • Your family

Analyze Their Interests

Once you have your list of stakeholders, the next step is to work out their power, influence, and interest, so that you can focus your attention and efforts. A good way to do this is to plot the various stakeholders on a Power/Interest Grid. Your manager is likely to have high power and influence over your particular project, as well as a high level of interest. Family members may have high interest, but are unlikely to have much power. People in the high power/high interest quadrant are the ones you must fully engage, and make the greatest efforts to satisfy. Think about how best to communicate with each person, and win his support. Keep people in other quadrants informed, and draw on their support and assistance where you can.

Win the Support of Your Stakeholders

Canvassing the support of the principal stakeholders does much more than simply ensure that they do not hamper your progress and cause you stress.

  • The experience, opinions and advice of your principal stakeholders may improve your project and make it more successful.

  • Their support can help you to win the resources you need for your project, greatly improving its chances of success.

  • Feedback from stakeholders will help you to anticipate people’s reactions to your project and enable you to build into your plan the actions and elements that will win support for the project.

Focus most of your efforts on the High Power/High Interest stakeholders, but keep others appropriately informed.

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