How to analyze your stakeholders

They can make or break your change initiative.

by: Lisa Hochgraf

When credit union executives are trying to lead, they need to get buy-in from a variety of people–or stakeholders. For example, if the VP/lending wants to purchase a new loan origination system, he might need to get support from members of his own team, the CIO and the CEO of the organization.

How can this best be accomplished? At the first-ever summer CEO Institute I: Strategic Planning held in August at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, Gregory P. Shea, Ph.D., provided attendees with a process for stakeholder analysis and management. Shea is co-author of Leading Successful Change: 8 Keys to Making Change Work.

Shea suggested first defining what exactly you’re trying to do. Ask yourself, “What’s the end state and what’s at least an outline of the path you need to take to get there?”

Next, Shea recommends creating a list of people who might think they have a stake in the strategy, change or project you have defined. “List as many as you can,” he encouraged in a class handout. “Press yourself.”

Third, break the list of stakeholders into three categories–those who control the success of the strategy, influence it, or just appreciate whether it has succeeded or failed. “Beware of too readily assigning stakeholders to a category based solely on their organizational position,” he wrote in the handout.

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