Carrying out a stakeholder analysis, teams are able to reflect and further improve their inner relationship and effectiveness through self-reflection. In a similar manner this is true regarding external relations and effectiveness. The interlocutors in this case are individuals (or representatives of organisational units), with which a team has to do, on which it depends, or for which it provides services – its stakeholders. This can happen every now and again of their own accord, but no later than when critical comments are received. To develop the sensitivity to such stimuli in the team is already a part of this reflection process: the stakeholder analysis.
Reflecting Team Outreach
It is tempting for team members to rely on their own knowledge of and experience with stakeholders – leading to answers that may be far from reality. Here are some ideas how you can achieve more impact.
Only direct questioning of each stakeholder in an exclusive interview is reliable enough. Depending on access to these people this can be done in private; a team session, however, provides more conclusive results. The following questions should be asked by the team member that has the best personal relationship with the person concerned.
Stakeholder Analysis – Questions
- How we can help you best in achieving your goals?
- Seen from your perspective – which behaviors or which peculiarities of our team have made it particularly difficult to meet your expectations?
- If you could change two elements in our approach, our behavior, our vision or our responsibilities over the next few weeks or months – which ones would that be?
- Regarding these modifications – what would be particularly useful for you?
- How can wie contribute to further develop our cooperation (or our work for you)?
- Are you interested in a follow-up to this conversation regarding the implementation of improvements?
Stakeholder Analysis – Appraisal
During the conversation the answers obtained should be scrutinized only with regard to understanding. A discussion within the team should follow as soon as possible. There, the goal is to find and agree upon specific measures, e.g. modifiactions of procedures, views or responsibilities. Mere declarations of intent or wishlists are completely ineffective.
Stakeholder Analysis – Preconditions
Currently largely conflict-free relations with the particular stakeholder are a prerequisite for such a conversation. It is advisable to inform the stakeholder about the intentions behind this interview when requesting it, and to promise confidentiality. The interview itself should last no longer than half an hour.
Stakeholder Analysis – Effects
Carefully implemented changes following a stakeholder interview led in this way have multiple positive effects:
- Already the invitation to the conversation, but especially the conversation itself, creates a new reciprocal perception of stakeholders and team.
- The team itself sees its internal and external relations from a new and different perspective and the relations take on a new meaning.
- Even the slightest concrete actions resulting from the conversation will have a very positive impact on the team – they make the team’s ‘self-healing’ capabilities visible and thereby strengthen them.
- Conversely, even small real improvements have a very positive impact on the stakeholders involved, because they recognize their influence and feel the determination of the team to work together; usually they spread this experience even further.
Stakeholder Analysis: an equally complex and demanding process – providing sustainable results.