The Influence Agenda

A Systematic Approach to Aligning Stakeholders for Driving Change

Mike Clayton

“This book is sure to expand the way you think about aligning and engaging your stakeholders. It should become the go-to source of knowledge for a 360-degree view on how to develop or improve your approach.”

Mark Watson
CEO, Purple Works Strategy, Communication and Coaching Consultancy


A highly practical roadmap for driving and implementing change, this book demonstrates how to properly influence, engage, and enlist the support of your key stakeholders.

Organizations need to be able to change and adapt to stay competitive, but this cannot be achieved without the support of stakeholders. Written by an expert trainer, The Influence Agenda sets out a systematic way to understand who you need to influence, how to evaluate the priority you give to each person, what tactics will work the best, and how
to plan and execute your strategy. It provides powerful tools and processes which use the psychology of influence and grounds them in experience of managing projects and change.

“Mike has provided a comprehensive guide to stakeholder management that should help elevate the status of stakeholder management to the same level as risk management in the mind of a Project or Change Manager. The Influence Agenda has loads of helpful tools and techniques to use – giving you no more excuses for not being able to do stakeholder engagement well.”

RICHARD BARTON
Partner, Atos Consulting


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“If engaging with stakeholders has baffled you, this is the book to explain all aspects of the subject. It guides the reader through the simple principles to a complete set of tools and checklists that teach you how to identify, develop strategies, and genuinely engage with stakeholders.”

STUART CROWTHER
Managing Director, Specific People

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Dedication and acknowledgements

Introduction

The Origin of Stakeholders - see also a blog about this and a video version of the section

Chapter 1: The Process is Trivial: The Implementation is Not

  • What is the Influence Agenda?
  • The Benefits of The Influence Agenda
  • The Evolution of Power in Organisations
  • The Stakeholder Engagement Process (see a video describing the five steps)
  • A Roadmap through The Influence Agenda

Chapter 2: Who are your Stakeholders?

  • What do you Want to Achieve?
  • Methods for Stakeholder Identification
  • Stakeholder Register

Chapter 3: More than Just Power: Analysing your Stakeholders

  • Stakeholder Triage
  • Analysis Framework
  • Apex Stakeholders
  • Relationships among Stakeholders
  • Techniques for Analysing Stakeholders
  • Stakeholder Analysis Tools
  • At the Centre

Chapter 4: What are you Doing?  Crafting your Message

  • Basics of Communications
  • Questions to Ask
  • Strategic Intent
  • Compelling, Persuasive and Powerful Messages
  • Delivering your Message
  • Crisis Management

Chapter 5: Gentle Persuasion: Soft Power

  • What is Soft Power?
  • Deploying Soft Power
  • Exerting Gentle Persuasion
  • Negotiation as Soft Conflict

Chapter 6: Hidden Power: Behavioural Economics

  • Why Behavioural Economics Works
  • Practical Techniques
  • The Ethics of Stakeholder Management

Chapter 7: A Dozen Reasons why you’re Wrong: Handling Resistance

Chapter 8: Your Influence Agenda: Campaign Planning

  • A Stakeholder Engagement Campaign
  • Strategic Posture
  • Team Effort
  • Building your Campaign Plan
  • Working with the Media

Chapter 9: Making it Work: Campaign Management

  • Monitor
  • Control
  • Evaluate
  • Learn
  • Embed

A Call to Action

“The Influence Agenda offers refreshingly practical guidance to all managers whose responsibility it is to engage stakeholders towards a common agenda. The toolbox of practical tools in this latest book provides the so-often sought-after guidance that organizations struggle to provide to their leaders. Definitely a book that needs to be on every manager’s bookshelf.”

PAULA HUTCHINGS
Director, Leornian Consulting; Executive Coach, accredited by Ashridge Business School

Appendices

  • Appendix 1: Scenarios for The Influence Agenda
  • Appendix 2: Stakeholder List
  • Appendix 3: Additional Stakeholder Analysis Tools
  • Appendix 4: Stakeholder Engagement Communication Methods
  • Appendix 5: Ethical Stakeholder Engagement (see the tab marked 'Charter')
  • Appendix 6: Rules, Rules, Rules
  • Appendix 7: Selected Glossary
  • Appendix 8: Learn More: Bibliography
  • Appendix 9: Hear Mike Clayton Speak about ‘The Influence Agenda’
  • Appendix 10: Also by Mike Clayton

SCHEDULE OF FIGURES, TABLES AND TEMPLATES

All figures, tables and templates, and the models they represent, are the author’s own, except where noted in the text.
Download the templates in the tab marked 'Resources'.

Figures

Chapter 1: The Process is Trivial: The Implementation is Not

  • Figure 1:           The Origin of Stakeholders
  • Figure 2:           Stakeholder Model
  • Figure 3:           Five things to Understand Deeply
  • Figure 4:           Strategy Development and Deployment Cycle
  • Figure 5:           Stakeholder Engagement Process

Chapter 2: Who are your Stakeholders?

  • Figure 6:           Stakeholder Engagement Goal
  • Figure 7:           Triple Bottom Line
  • Figure 8:           Trapezoidal Relationship
  • Figure 9:           Square Relationship
  • Figure 10:        Triangular relationship

Chapter 3: More than Just Power: Analysing your Stakeholders

  • Figure 11:        Stakeholder Triage – Quadrants
  • Figure 12:        Stakeholder Triage – Plotting stakeholders
  • Figure 13:        Stakeholder Triage –
  • Figure 14:        Stakeholder Analysis
  • Figure 15:        Perceptual Positions Analysis – Set-up
  • Figure 16:        Apex Stakeholders
  • Figure 17:        Apex, Primary, Secondary and Basal Stakeholders
  • Figure 18:        Diffusion of an Idea through Society
  • Figure 19:        Illustration of Rogers’ Model of the Diffusion of Innovations
  • Figure 20:        Basic Sociogram
  • Figure 21:        Enhanced Sociogram
  • Figure 22:        Typical Sociogram Structure
  • Figure 23:        Issue Inter-relationship Diagram
  • Figure 24:        Contractogram
  • Figure 25:        Persona card
  • Figure 26:        The ‘Standard’ Stakeholder Map
  • Figure 27:        The Influence Agenda Stakeholder Map
  • Figure 28:        Examples of Symbols for use on the Stakeholder Map
  • Figure 29:        Stakeholder Force-field Analysis

Chapter 4: What are you Doing?  Crafting your Message

  • Figure 30:        How Communication Works
  • Figure 31:        Range of Stakeholder Strategies
  • Figure 32:        Compelling, Persuasive and Powerful Communication
  • Figure 33:        The Stakeholder Pyramid

Chapter 5: Gentle Persuasion: Soft Power

  • Figure 34:        Triad of Influence
  • Figure 35:        The Environment of Influence
  • Figure 36:        Motivation and Power
  • Figure 37:        Collaboration
  • Figure 38:        Theory of Planned Behaviour
  • Figure 39:        Social Styles

Chapter 6: Hidden Power: Behavioural Economics

  • Figure 40:        An Heuristic / Rational Model of Thinking
  • Figure 41:        Levels of Hidden Influence

Chapter 7: A Dozen Reasons why you’re Wrong: Handling Resistance

  • Figure 42:        The Onion Model of Resistance to Change
  • Figure 43:        Escalation of Conflict

Chapter 8: Your Influence Agenda: Campaign Planning

  • Figure 44:        Stakeholder Prioritisation
  • Figure 45:        Stakeholder Strategy Chart
  • Figure 46:        Stakeholder Engagement Strategies
  • Figure 47:        Team-member Relationship Map
  • Figure 48:        Selecting a Communication Medium according to Strategic Posture
  • Figure 49:        Selecting a Communication Medium according to the Nature of the Message

Chapter 9: Making it Work: Campaign Management

  • Figure 50:        Maintenance, Persuasion and Response Cycles
  • Figure 51:        Maintenance Cycle
  • Figure 52:        Persuasion Cycle
  • Figure 53:        Response Cycle
  • Figure 54:        Example of a Balanced Stakeholder Engagement Scorecard
  • Figure 55:        Evolution of Individual Stakeholder Attitudes
  • Figure 56:        Spread of Stakeholder Attitudes
  • Figure 57:        Averages of Stakeholder Attitudes to a Range of Issues
  • Figure 58:        Two Stakeholder Engagement Performance Tools

Appendix 3: Additional Stakeholder Analysis Tools

  • Figure 59:        Stakeholder Impact Chart
  • Figure 60:        Power-Interest Diagram
  • Figure 61:        Proximity Map

Tables

Chapter 1: The Process is Trivial: The Implementation is Not

  • Table 1:             The Benefits of The Influence Agenda

Chapter 3: More than Just Power: Analysing your Stakeholders

  • Table 2:             Summary of Questions to Ask about your Stakeholders
  • Table 3:             Indicative Agenda for a Stakeholder Analysis Workshop

Chapter 4: What are you Doing?  Crafting your Message

  • Table 4:             Stakeholder Engagement Strategy Questionnaire
  • Table 5:             A Choice of Frames

Chapter 8: Your Influence Agenda: Campaign Planning

  • Table 6:             Strategic Postures
  • Table 7:             Stakeholder Engagement Roles and Responsibilities

Chapter 9: Making it Work: Campaign Management

  • Table 8:             Stakeholder Engagement Management Maturity Levels

Templates

Download the templates in the tab marked Resources.

Chapter 3: More than Just Power: Analysing your Stakeholders

  • Template 1:       Stakeholder Engagement Strategy Planner

Chapter 4: What are you Doing?  Crafting your Message

  • Template 2:       Stakeholder Benefits Matrix

Chapter 5: Gentle Persuasion: Soft Power

  • Template 3:       In-bound Call Sheet

Chapter 8: Your Influence Agenda: Campaign Planning

  • Template 4:       Stakeholder Engagement Plan
  • Template 5:       Basic Stakeholder Communication Plan
  • Template 6:       Basic Communication Plan
  • Template 7:       Single-Stakeholder Communication Plan
  • Template 8:       Communication Approach Grid
  • Template 9:       Impression Plan
  • Template 10:    Message Calendar
  • Template 11:    Progression Plan – Project Stages
  • Template 12:    Progression Plan – Change Programme

Appendix 3: Additional Stakeholder Analysis Tools

  • Template 13:    Stakeholder Interests Map
  • Template 14:    Love-Hate Analysis
  • Template 15:    Salience Map

“This book is sure to expand the way you think about aligning and engaging your stakeholders. It should become the go-to source of knowledge for a 360-degree view on how to develop or improve your approach.”

MARK WATSON
CEO, Purple Works Strategy, Communication and Coaching Consultancy

 

“Mike has provided a comprehensive guide to stakeholder management that should help elevate the status of stakeholder management to the same level as risk management in the mind of a Project or Change Manager. The Influence Agenda has loads of helpful tools and techniques to use – giving you no more excuses for not being able to do stakeholder engagement well.”

RICHARD BARTON
Partner, Atos Consulting

 

“If engaging with stakeholders has baffled you, this is the book to explain all aspects of the subject. It guides the reader through the simple principles to a complete set of tools and checklists that teach you how to identify, develop strategies, and genuinely engage with stakeholders.”

STUART CROWTHER
Managing Director, Specific People

 

“The Influence Agenda offers refreshingly practical guidance to all managers whose responsibility it is to engage stakeholders towards a common agenda. The toolbox of practical tools in this latest book provides the so-often sought-after guidance that organizations struggle to provide to their leaders. Definitely a book that needs to be on every manager’s bookshelf.”

PAULA HUTCHINGS
Director, Leornian Consulting; Executive Coach, accredited by Ashridge Business School

 

 

 

 

 

These are my set of six commitments for ethical stakeholder engagement, in the form of a charter.  I invite you to sign it, to share this charter (you can download a copy here), and to encourage colleagues to sign it too.  Please do make your commitment as a comment, below.


First Commitment: Respect

  1. To always respect all of your stakeholders.
  2. To seek the insights and knowledge that your stakeholders possess, and to consider it objectively.
  3. To assume the best of your stakeholders – in particularly, that they act with positive intentions, even when their choice of behaviours is poor.
  4. To allow your stakeholders to make their own decisions, free of any manipulation or coercion.

Second Commitment: Integrity

  1. To always act with the utmost integrity.
  2. To consider the consequences of your actions and take responsibility for your choices.
  3. To be accountable for your actions to your stakeholders.
  4. To act in good faith, disdaining to act solely in your own interests and, where they overlap with those of stakeholders, to declare your interests openly.

Third Commitment: Equality

  1. To disdain unethical discrimination of all kinds, respecting people for who they are, rather than for the category into which they fall.
  2. To offer or withhold no favour that is predicated upon either personal liking or animus.
  3. To act in accordance with the basic human rights of each stakeholder.
  4. To work towards a fair sharing of gains and losses among stakeholders.

Fourth Commitment: Minimise Harm

  1. To always act to safeguard the wider interests of your stakeholder group.
  2. To strive to identify unintended consequences of your actions.
  3. To balance with care the conflicting interests of different stakeholders, and to be open about the implications of those different interests.
  4. To promote informed decision-making and to commit to facilitating the transparent processes and that will support it.

Fifth Commitment: Tell No Lies

  1. To always remember that honesty is the only ethical policy.
  2. To present the whole truth: bad as well as good, and to tell only the truth.
  3. To avoid deliberately exaggerating, diminishing, omitting, or selectively interpreting the evidence.
  4. To let your stakeholders know all of the consequences of the choices they might make, including the adverse ones.

Sixth Commitment: Honour the Rules

  1. To always act in accordance with laws, regulations and rules that are imposed through due process, whether by nations, states, administrative regions, or the organisations to which you are bound.
  2. To respect contractual commitments that you and your stakeholders have made, or that have been made by organisations to which you or your stakeholders are bound.
  3. To meet the requirements of all properly appointed people who have been assigned seniority over you by the organisations to which you are bound.
  4. To remain mindful that your ethical and moral duties can sometimes transcend points 1, 2 or 3 of the sixth commitment, and that you are, at all times, responsible for your choices.

I freely make these commitments on this day: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . date . . . . . . . . . . . . . Signed: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Dedication and Acknowledgements

DEDICATION

The Influence Agenda is dedicated to a former friend and colleague, Judith Wilks.  Judith had a deep intuitive understanding of the contents of this book; things I have had to learn the hard way.  Judith died after a long struggle with cancer in early 2012.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Throughout The Influence Agenda are case studies and ‘wise words’ that were generously provided to me by former colleagues.  Whilst I have a learned a lot from many of the colleagues and clients I have worked with, thank you particularly to Colin Bartle-Tubbs, Paul Mitchell, Carolyn Pratley, and Charles Vivian, who all took time out of busy schedules to speak with me and review the notes I made.  Their experience and wisdom has added significantly to this book.  I would also like to make a posthumous acknowledgement of the many conversations I had with Judith Wilks, to whom this book is dedicated, while we worked together.

Other colleagues and clients, whose knowledge and expertise I particularly benefitted from include: Julian Badcock, Tricia Bey, Brian Green, George Owen, Richard Porter, Ron Rosenhead, Steve Shergold, Chris Sullivan, Gilbert Toppin and Nick Wilson.

Finally, thank you again to my wife, Felicity, for her constant indulgence of my commitment to writing, and for her continuing willingness to read yet another manuscript.