In talent / learning projects, there are often many stakeholders involved. To ensure maximum success of your project, it’s important to align stakeholders to your project, engage them in process and outcomes, and regularly communicate. Email updates are not enough – some stakeholders have significant influence and must be managed more closely.
The Influence & Interest Grid (also called a Power/Interest Grid) is a useful tool for:
- Identifying stakeholders
- Prioritizing stakeholders
- Creating a communication & engagement plan
- Gaining support for your project
- Gathering feedback to improve project outcomes
The grid has 2 axes:
- Influence – More than position & power – also includes reach and sway
- Interest – Curiosity or vested interest
Example: Training Program for New Ordering System
An L&D team is tasked with training employees to use a new system that will process customer orders. It’s not enough to simply design and deliver the training and report results; there will be multiple stakeholders with interest in the project. The team will identify and prioritize stakeholders on the interest/influence grid then determine engagement and communication strategies.
Step 1: Brainstorm list of stakeholders
One way to do this is with an Affinity Diagram – brainstorm then sort into categories. Whatever method you use, be sure to include the trainees as a stakeholder – they may not have choice in whether they use the system but do require communication and have high influence. The list might include:
- Senior Executives
- Specific groups/teams
Step 2: Prioritize Stakeholders on the Grid
Place stakeholders in the appropriate box on the grid. Keep in mind that influence is more than power – the trainees themselves will be HIGH INTEREST and HIGH INFLUENCE. They will be discussing the effectiveness of the training with others and can sway opinion.
Step 3: Understand and engage your stakeholders
High Interest / High Influence
These are your most important stakeholders. It is a good idea to have a 2-way communication strategy with HIGH/HIGH, such as focus groups to gather their opinions, observations, suggestions. Involve them in your project. For example, use focus groups to gather information about the training program that you use to adapt and show them “I heard you”. Provide face-to-face updates. In order to craft your engagement strategy, answer questions such as:
- Where does their interest stem from? Is it financial, performance, emotional related?
- What is the impact to them of the project’s success or failure?
- Is the interest related to other projects in the company?
- What information do they need?
- What information can they provide that would help us?
- How can we leverage their interest?
- Who do they influence?
- How do they use their influence?
- What is the impact of gaining their favor? Losing it?
- How can we motivate them to use their influence for our project?
Low Interest / High Influence
These stakeholders represent some level of risk – they have high influence but little interest. They could use their influence to divert resources or even cancel your implementation. The goal is to increase their interest – invite them to project updates, ask for their advice, involve them in some way. Ask yourself:
- Why aren’t they interested?
- What are some potential positive and negative outcomes due to their lack of interest?
- How can we increase their interest?
High Interest / Low Influence
Potential resource –
- Why are they interested?
- How certain are we about their level of influence?
- How can we leverage their interest?
Low Interest / Low Influence
Goal is to increase their interest, but not to the detriment of the project’s success. Keep this group informed with one-way communication, dashboards, etc.