Understanding the type of engagement required is key to creating an effective strategy. The stakeholder manager needs to define whether the engagement is consultative (where the final decision on how to move on lies with the company/organisation) or cooperative (where the company/organisation is prepared to take joint action). An issue can also start with a consultation and then become a cooperation project.
At this point an engagement programme can be developed. The key with any engagement plan is to understand it will change and needs regular evaluation. In addition there often needs to be pre-emptive and reactive strategies that can be deployed quickly in response to new situations. The plan should clearly identify the different strategies for each of the identified stakeholder groups. With key items included enabling collaboration across differing viewpoints.
Building a rapport with your stakeholders requires two-way communications and these all need to be planned and resourced, enabling your stakeholders to respond and contribute through multiple channels. Building this dialogue with regular communications, available response mechanisms and accessible events, enables the real time measurement of the strategy and the balance of current opinion.
A simple analysis of the power and influence should then enable the creation of a stakeholder register, segmented to facilitate personalised and appropriate exchanges.
Once you have completed step two of the Stakeholder Engagement Process and planned out your engagement programme, you will then be in a position to move onto step three - Engage.