We live in a constantly changing business world: a world where no one can go it alone, a world characterized by an increasing variety of collaborations. Also a world where you have to deal with an increasing amount of stakeholders. So, do you actively deal with them or not?

The question can be like the famous Shakespeare quote: “to be or not to be?” “To influence or not to influence”, or maybe even “to influence or to be influenced”. Yet, a mixture is possible. We can learn from our stakeholders and we can influence them.

Influencing stakeholders is essential for many projects and it increases in complexity as the number of involved partners grows. In fact, the number of stakeholders will grow exponentially with a growing number of partners in a business collaboration. Actively influencing stakeholders will help you to keep them as champions for your business collaboration or at least bring them in to a neutral state about your collaboration.

Some call it stakeholder management. However, I prefer to stay away from the management word when combining it with stakeholders. I don’t believe we can manage them. We can influence them with the right behavior, actions and communication. There is no management relationship with most of your stakeholders.

On the other hand, stakeholders will be a valuable source for learning. They can and if you ask them they will provide you with honest feedback on your project or your own performance. Feedback that you can use as part of your self development or to increase the project’s performance.

This is one of the cornerstones of Marshall Goldsmith’s Stakeholder Centered Coaching methodology. Here the stakeholder feedback is an essential element of your development through coaching. The methodology can be used for your own development in personal executive coaching, as well as for team building and team development in team coaching.

Also in business collaborations the methodology can be used to improve your partnership with input of the stakeholders. As said before, the complexity will increase as the number of partners, and with that the number of stakeholders, increases. Yet their honest feedback (or feedforward as Marshall calls it) can be invaluable in the alignment and the progress of your partnership.

The basic process behind the methodology is simple, yet the execution is not always easy. On a monthly basis you will use your stakeholders feedforward for improvement. On a regular basis your coach will guide you in the action plan you created based on the suggestions for improvement and your coach will solicit feedback about your improvement from your stakeholders.

A simple process with a guaranteed improvement, for your personal leadership as well as for your business collaborations.

Influence or be influenced by your stakeholders? Both!

Want to explore how actively working with your stakeholders can help improve the performance of your leadership, your team or your partnership? Here is a link to contact me for a call.