Could a Stakeholder Analysis have Saved the World Cup?

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Perhaps this question is a bit premature considering the World Cup is just getting underway in Brazil.  Every indication, if you believe the daily press, is that the event is a disaster in the making.  In this article “As Brazil Barrels Toward World Cup, Brazilians Aren’t Feeling It”  there appears to be one stakeholder that is clearly dissatisfied – the people of Brazil.

What could have been done differently to avoid this issue?  If you think about agreeing to be the host country of any major event, i.e. the World Cup, the Olympics (oops – Rio has signed up for 2016 as well) it requires a MAJOR transformation.  Any major transformation will need a significant amount of change management to be successful, which starts with understanding the needs and value drivers of your stakeholders. 

Riots in the streets, numerous protests, labor strikes, etc. do not sound like the people of Brazil were identified as an important stakeholder in the Transformation.  Here is the definition of a stakeholder:

Any group or individual who can affect or be affected by the change or the transformation and/or has a personal interest.

Why is a Stakeholder Analysis so important?  Here are a few thoughts:

  • Allows you to categorize stakeholders
    • those who will drive the change
    • those who will make the change happen
    • those who will be targets of the change
  •  Helps you understand the current level of commitment / support / resistance by individual stakeholder groups
  • Allows you to build the required  level of commitment by individual stakeholder groups
  • Will be the foundation for your selling / communication plan

If you take the time (it does not take long) to do a Stakeholder Analysis, it can go a long way to identifying critical needs and issues up front so that you can deal with them early.  The issues must be dealt with, so it comes down to “pay me now or pay me later”.  If you choose the latter, it will most certainly cost you more time, effort, money, credibility and maybe even an election.  “So far, the Brazilian government has taken the brunt of the blame. President Dilma Rousseff’s ratings have been going down. The stakes for her are particularly high: There are elections in Brazil in October, so there is a sense that if things don’t go well, the electorate could punish the incumbent. “All the issues that Brazil is facing with their people must be the exact same issues any country would face or has faced in the same situation.  So, common sense would tell you that these issues have two characteristics – they are predictable (we can forsee them happening) and they are inevitable (we know for certain they will happen).  I would like to believe that some research and planning was done up front to identify approaches and lessons learned from others who had done this in the past and were successful. Obviously that feedback had not been incorporated into the plan. 

One mistake that is often made is only focusing on the most “influential” stakeholders and forgetting those in the trenches that have a significant impact on your success or failure.  We see this quite a bit in organizations where executives are carefully attended to and the rest of the organization is forgotten.  That approach only works if the executives can make the change happen without the involvement or cooperation of anyone else. If that is not the case, then the approach is doomed from the start.

For Brazil, the World Cup and President Rousseff it is too late to pay up now.  Let’s see if they learn their own lesson and are better prepared for the 2016 Olympics.  A Stakeholder Analysis might be their ticket to success.

Let us know what you think and join in the conversation . . . . 

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Anne Kohler
Anne has been leading consulting and financial management organizations for over 25 years. She has extensive expertise in Strategic Sourcing, change management, contracting & contract management (both the buy side and sell side) organizational design and supply chain management. Anne has a passion for collaborating and educating her clients while helping them to uncover hidden value in their organizations. In addition, Anne has been named by Supply & Demand Chain Executive as a “Top 100 Provider Pro to Know” every year since 2007 and a 2013 Top Female Supply Chain executive.
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