STAKEHOLDER PRIORITISATION GRID 

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STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT – a useful approach


When using the grid organise the stakeholders in different matrices according to their interest and power.

‘Interest’ measures to what degree they are likely to be affected by the or change, and what degree of interest or concern they have in or about it.

‘Power‘ measures the influence they have over the project or policy, and to what degree they can help achieve, or block, the desired change.

Stakeholders with high power, and interests aligned with the project, are the people or organisations it is important to fully engage and bring on board.

If trying to create policy change, these people are the targets of any campaign. At the very top of the ‘power’ list will be the ‘decision-makers’.

Beneath these are people whose opinion matters – the ‘opinion leaders’. This creates a pyramid sometimes known as an influence map.

Stakeholders with high interest but low power need to be kept informed but, if organised, they may form the basis of an interest group or coalition which can lobby for change. Those with high power but low interest should be kept satisfied and ideally brought around as patrons or supporters for the proposed  change.

If time and resources permit, further analysis can be carried out which explores in more detail (i) the nature of the power and its position and (ii) the interests that give it that position. This helps the project to better understand why people take certain stands and how they can be bought around. This analysis is developed further in influence mapping :

INFLUENCE MAPPING builds naturally on  stakeholder analysis .Be clear over the policy issue or change being analysed and single out those in high positions of power. First differentiate between the decision-makers who have the actual responsibility to make the decisions in a specific policy area, and their opinion-leaders who can influence them or lead their opinion, and who are generally more accessible.

Remember, absolute power is a myth. Every executive depends on a group of advisers or with whom they cannot operate. They are accountable to, a wide group of interest groups, constituencies and lobbies.Further they may be influenced by the nature of the information and research they receive, , not to mention their own beliefs and ideologies. It is often helpful to map the information as a pyramid of  factors and influences 

The construction of this interest map or ‘pyramid’ brings about rich discussion. The distance from the bottom represents how influential the factor is and, critically, the route by which this influence reaches the decision-maker. It’s worth trying to detail the key individuals and groups that carry the influence . This allows for the analysis of  Influence Channels –  or entry points to effect change.

The final step is to develop a strategy for how best to engage different stakeholders in a project, how to ‘frame’ or present the message or information so it is useful to them, and how to maintain a relationship with them. Identify who will make each contact and how, what message they will communicate and how they will follow-up. 

Having identified the stakeholders in your job and projects, and marked out their positions on your stakeholder map the next stage is to plan your communication so that you can win them around to support your projects.

It can be helpful to use a Stakeholder Communications worksheet. This is a table with the following column headings:

  • Stakeholder Name
  • Communications Approach
  • Key Interests and Issues
  • Current Status – Advocate, supporter, neutral, critic, blocker
  • Desired Support – High, medium or low
  • Desired Project Role (if any)
  • Actions Desired (if any)
  • Messages Needed
  • Actions and Communications




Communications  approach ( 1) 
Key Interests/ Issues
Current Status ( 2) 
Desired Support ( 3) 
Desired project role
( If any)
Actions Desired
Messages needed
Actions  / Communications

1. Manage closely/Keep satisfied/Keep informed/Monitor.

2. Advocate/Supporter/Neutral/Critic/Blocker.

3. High/Medium/Low.





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