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Catching the Wild Stakeholder: A Guest Blog
Trick question: how many stakeholders does it take to get things done? It’s always more than you think. One client counted up 50 stakeholder groups and more than 100 people.
If you’re like most organizations, you work very hard to get everyone lined up and saying “yes”. Then somehow they vanish. It can be really discouraging. This is just as true when you’re trying to get a sale as it is for getting things done internally or with allies and influencers.
You ask them, “What happened?” “You were on board yesterday (an hour ago, last month, etc.).” What you hear (if you hear anything) is “I re-thought about it” or “I’m just not so sure this is a good idea anymore.” All your hard work is down the drain. The sale, issue, decision or activity is postponed or gone forever.
What went wrong? One of three possibilities has occurred. Two of them are fixable; one of them isn’t. The unfixable one is caused by “ghost competitors”™ to your idea. One fixable problem is caused by rushing the stakeholders. The other is due to not letting them go completely through their “buy-in” process. It’s what we call the “Buying Continuum”™.
Just as you have a process to get their sale, agreement, participation, etc., they have a process to reduce or take the risk out of doing what you ask. There are different kinds of risk takers and to “catch” them, you need to use that information in the process you use in your particular Buying Continuum™.
There are seven steps to the Buying Continuum™ that all these risk takers must go through to do what you want. They won’t match up exactly with what you do on your behalf. Some of their steps may happen simultaneously but they must happen. If you know how it works, you can mentor them through any steps that they try to circumvent or delay.
The result of doing this is staggering. You can reduce your time, effort, and maybe even money to get them all the way to the finish line. You can also see the writing on the wall a lot faster and not even bother or find a way around that particular stakeholder.
In my free Journyx webinar, "Catching the Wild Stakeholder”, I talk about the risk takers and the Buying Continuum™ process. Register here. Please feel free to email me your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jan F. Triplett, Ph.D., CEO, Business Success Center