Enhancing the Stakeholder Analysis Map

There are many players in any system and mapping is the first step in understanding who they are and how they impact the system. In a business, this is a way of not only identifying customers, partners, and competitors, but many other players who may impact the organization, positively and negatively. Without understanding these players, and their relationships to each other, effective strategy is nearly impossible and much of the potential value that can be built, will be missed (as long as many potential risks). Stakeholders are different than shareholders, which is why it’s important to use this term and not misconstrue them. A shareholder owns equity in a for-profit organization and may have voting influence on decision-making within it. A stakeholder, however maybe outside the organization (not all are) but may still have powerful influence on the organization. Think about the influence a partner might have in recommending your product or service (or against it). What about a non-profit that organizes a boycott or government agency that regulates what you do?

Within the system of stakeholders, value flows between many of them. That’s why they’re in your system. But, because there are 5 kinds of value, you need to map them all to see their impact, While this sounds daunting, this is exactly how you identify opportunities that others may not see: such as where a lot of value is flowing into but not out of a stakeholder. Or, where stakeholders are only engaged financially or functionally but not emotionally or meaningfully.

There needs to be more detailed tools for developing stakeholder maps. For now, there is a template but that’s about it. I’ve taught workshops on this (as, I’m sure, others have) but these tools are sorely underdeveloped.