Navigating Stakeholder Alignment

Posted: 3/31/2010 by Norma Watenpaugh

Aligning team members and stakeholders to support the work of an alliance or any business relationship can be surprisingly treacherous.  One would think that if the strategic intent and return on investment on an alliance is clear the rest falls into place.  Well, guess again. 

At PhoenixCG we look at team alignment in two dimensions: 1) are individuals committed (in other words “Are they believers?”), and, 2) are they accountable (or, “Do they have something at stake in the project?”)  Mapping team members against these two dimensions can give you an interesting picture and help you anticipate some of the people dynamics in managing the team.

  • Champions are both committed and accountable. They have a lot of personal and professional investment in the success of the partnership and will go the extra mile to make it work.

  • Cheerleaders are believers but do not have a personal stake in success. They are good allies and supporters even if they are on the sidelines of alliance team. But beware they can be fickle, routing from the sidelines only when your team is winning.  Loyalties can switch when things get tough.

  • Hostages are accountable and have a clear stake in the outcome of alliance performance but are skeptical of the partnership’s value. "My boss assigned this to me, so I have to be here." They may passively undermine the alliance by their actions or inaction.

  • Snipers are actively and sometimes openly opposed to an alliance. You are lucky if they are openly opposed. If they are stealthy in their efforts, you may have a difficult time in identifying them and addressing the problem.

Understanding where your team members fall in these categories goes a long way in understanding what challenges you may face in managing the alliance and what measures you need to take to get the team aligned.

PhoenixCG recently did a Web seminar on the topic of Alliance Governance & Metrics which delves deeper, not only into the topic of stakeholder alignment, but also into other important aspects of governance and metrics, such as:

  • Governance Structures

  • Mitigating Risk

  • Alliance Core Values and Operating Principles

  • Peer-to-Peer Relationship ManagementStakeholder Alignment (presented, above)

  • Effective Metrics:  Balanced Scorecards, Partner Health Checks, and more.

The Web seminar was part of the Alliance Skills Mastery Series presented by ASAP-SV/NorCal, and a recording of it is available for purchase here.

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