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Build a Stakeholder Map

Mapping out the landscape of your organisation, and the stakeholders who have most impact on your results. Build your stakeholder map to support your function.

You can build a stakeholder map at two levels:

  1. Strategically, you can map out where the power lies, where decisions are made and who may have a key influence on the work of you and your team.  This will help you to build your political intelligence.
  2. Closer to home – and this is what we will look at here – you can map out the stakeholders who you work with, who have a direct impact on what you do, and with whom you need to build productive relationships.  This will help you to focus your time and effort on the relationships that matter most.

First sketch out a stakeholder map with yourself at the centre:

Stakeholder map

Plot the people you work with, and who are key players in achieving your goals.

Include:

  • key stakeholders and internal clients or client groups who you serve;
  • people who provide services to you in your role;
  • Your boss and their boss;
  • Your team;
  • Your colleagues (use names, not role titles).

Next, consider how important they are to you in achieving your goals.  If they are very important, indicate that in the line between you –  a thick line means they’re very important, and a thin line less so.

Now, consider the quality of the relationship between you.  The term sufficiency is useful here, because it is not emotive.  We want to evaluate the extent to which they help you in your role to get done what you need to do.

Evaluate to what extent:

  • you’re on the same page.  How well do you understand each other?
  • they deliver – they don’t let you down;
  • they help you reach your goals;
  • you trust them to represent you fairly, including (or especially) when you’re not in the room.

Either they’re sufficient or they’re not.  If you’re finding it difficult to judge, or they’re quite new to you, then the relationship is not yet sufficient.

Building your stakeholder map is particularly important within our Enablers Perspective and Connection.

Within Perspective, it helps you to understand

  • the landscape within which you operate;
  • the people you need to engage with and where you need to invest in relationship-building;
  • whose perspective you need to take a view from – whose shoes you need to step into when viewing a situation, project or issue;
  • who can help you build a complete perspective; who can provide information and insight to help you, eg. to build your business acumen.

Within Connection, it helps you to invest your time where it will be most productive:

  • Who the people are on whom you most depend to deliver results;
  • Where the relationships are not sufficient, ie. you find them unhelpful, or simply don’t know them well enough – and it is having a negative impact on your results;
  • Where you need to nurture and deepen the relationship;
  • Where you need to take a more thorough, considered and authentic look at how you work with them.

This preparation will help you to scope out intellectually where you need to invest, and then you can consider how to develop effective behavioural approaches.

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