Stakeholder engagement strategies should include plans to utilise positive and influential Stakeholders to help drive organisational change. stakeholdermap.comStakeholders can be a useful and positive force by acting as change agents. Change agents transform businesses by encouraging others to change.
A change agent is a person or a thing that is a catalyst for change. Stakeholders who are change agents transform businesses by encouraging others to change. For example by helping to change processes, tools, or behaviours. stakeholdermap.comYour stakeholder engagement strategies should include plans to utilise positive and influential Stakeholders to help drive the changes you want to make.
As Bill McElroy and Chris Mills note in the Gower Handbook of Project Management:
Stakeholders should be viewed as having a vital role to play as change agents - positively changing the way others view the project. McElroy and Mills, p. 763They draw a distinction between 'hard' and 'soft' projects. Hard being delivery of a tangible item, for example a road or software and soft being focused on less tangible deliverables like changing behaviours or attitudes. Stakeholders are more likely to be useful change agents on soft projects - in these cases the stakeholder's own experience and networks (social connections) can help them to influence others.
How to use positive stakeholdersMcElroy and Mills give some examples of how champion stakeholder can be used as change agents on soft projects:
- persuading people to change working practices
- getting staff to think differently about profit
- asking customers to purchase in new ways
To Identify stakeholder change agents, first complete an analysis of your stakeholders which will enable you to identify powerful and interested Stakeholders who can positively influence others. Learn how to analyze your stakeholders.
References and further readingTurner, R. ed., 2007. Gower Handbook of Project Management, Aldershot: Gower.
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