Stakeholder Analysis

In the book, Bare Bones Change Management: What you shouldn’t not do, Bob Lewis explained the seven must-have elements for any change management effort to have a chance of succeeding. Here are my takeaways from one of the topics discussed in the book.

Change efforts do not succeed just because they are right for the organization. They succeed because they benefit someone.

Return on Investment from the Cost-Benefit Analysis is often the invitation for a change to enter the organization.

There are three significant stakeholder groups: the Supporters, the Acceptors, and the Resistors. Think of the distribution as a bell curve. Wise change manager will always perform an in-depth analysis of the stakeholders.

Look for supporters among people who are ambitious, who complain about the old way of doing things, and who are confident in their abilities to adapt.

On the flipside, change manager can usually find resistors who expect to lose their standing and influence due to the change. They have built up skills and value which will be threatened by the change. The resistors can also be those who are less confident in their abilities to adapt than the supporters.

The acceptors, a majority in the organization, will not actively support or resist the change. Leadership is the best way to reach that population because that is what they look for. The direction can come from anyone, even from the resistors, so it is best the leadership comes from the change manager.

Bob further suggested some tactics to consider for managing the stakeholder groups. They include Making it a win, Involving, Promoting, Communicating, Introducing, Giving special treatment, Defusing, Cornering, and Marginalizing.

Managing the stakeholder groups is probably the most challenging element of leading the change effort.