Do You Know the Difference Between Strategic Sourcing & Category Management?  Don’t Create a Stakeholder Analysis UNLESS You Are Going to Use It!


Have you ever developed a Stakeholder Analysis / Map, put it in a drawer and never used it?  I could ask the same question about a strategic plan, communication plan, change management plan, new process, new technology, etc. and would most likely get the same answer.  It probably felt good at the time you developed that Stakeholder Analysis BUT not so good when stakeholder issues arose, and you realized that the analysis you threw in the drawer could have helped prevent those issues.  

As I am doing training for Sourcing and Supply Chain professionals trying to take on a more strategic role, Stakeholder Analysis is always one of the most critical activities and tools we discuss.  I also ALWAYS point out – please don’t waste your time developing one UNLESS you are going to USE it.   I’m often asked if this “stakeholder stuff” is just theoretical OR do people really use it and does it actually work?  I read an article in HBR entitled “How to Collaborate with People You Don’t Like” which presented a dramatic illustration of how a simple Stakeholder Analysis could have helped a new executive, IF USED. According to the article, Kacie identified a peer executive, Marta, as a key stakeholder early in her transition to a new job but just didn’t like her.   “She revisited the stakeholder map she had created in her first few weeks in the role, which clearly showed that Marta’s collaboration and partnership were essential for getting the business results Kacie wanted. In assessing the relationship more honestly, Kacie came to realize that she had been failing to reach out to Marta. She had not made her new colleague feel like her input and perspectives were valuable, had been leaving her and her team off communications, and had more or less been trying to avoid her.”  Kacie could have avoided this issue altogether had she USED the Stakeholder Analysis / Map she developed.

Our Stakeholders are critical to our success.  If you are merely processing transactions, then maybe you can get away with ignoring your Stakeholders.  But, if your ultimate goal is Category Management, you better start identifying and working with your key Stakeholders NOW.  Putting together a Stakeholder Analysis / Map is not rocket science.  In fact, it is nothing more than a simple spreadsheet but when USED it is will be one of the most powerful tools in your toolkit.

Your Stakeholder Analysis is important because it helps you to identify those internal and external constituents that can impact or be impacted by your process.  You should also consider identifying your stakeholder’s stakeholders to ensure that you have identified the “right” stakeholders and identify what is important to them (their 0Value Drivers). It needs to be created at the beginning of the process and updated throughout – in other words it needs to be a living / breathing document / tool. Identifying supporters is as important as identifying resistors because you can use your supporters to help to sell your Value.  Resistors will require particular attention because they can be a major impediment in you providing Value to your organization.  Please note that turning resistors into supporters is a Necessity if you are going to make Category Management a reality.

I often hear – “I already do this but it’s in my head, not on paper”.  Just a piece of advice, complete the tool / template because doing so forces the thinking and conversation with your team which is of more value than filling out the template.  Then USE it throughout the process so you don’t end up in a difficult situation like Kacie.  Remember – Don’t Create a Stakeholder Analysis UNLESS you are going to Use It!

Join in the conversation and let us know what you think . . . . . .   


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