NHS Stakeholder Analysis
What is it?
Actively engaging a wide variety of people such as clinicians, administrative staff, patients and user groups will help you deliver your change project. A stakeholder analysis enables you to identify everyone who needs to be involved and assess how much time and resources to give to maintaining their involvement and commitment.
When to use it
Carrying out stakeholder analysis as an early step in your change project can help you avoid conflict and delays caused by inadvertently failing to involve key people.
How to use it
- Identify your stakeholders
Start by brainstorming a list of all the people and groups likely to be affected by the proposed change. You could bring a small group of well-informed people together to do this or start the list yourself and share it with others so that they can add to it.
Grouping your stakeholders according to the following ‘9 Cs’ will help to ensure you have included all relevant stakeholders:
• Commissioners: those who pay the organization to do things
• Customers: those who acquire and use the organization’s products
• Collaborators: those with whom the organization works to develop and deliver products
• Contributors: those from whom the organization acquires content for products
• Channels: those who provide the organization with a route to a market or customer
• Commentators: those whose opinions of the organization are heard by customers and others
• Consumers: those who are served by our customers: ie patients, families, users
• Champions: those who believe in and will actively promote the project
• Competitors: those working in the same area who offer similar or alternative services.
- As this classification system came from industry, you may find that some of the categories have crossover when grouping stakeholders from a health and care perspective. Don’t be too strict with your classifications, the list helps you look for the broad range of possible stakeholders who may be involved in your project.
- Prioritize your stakeholders
The Four sector table
Once you have generated the list of names, analyze it in terms of power, influence, and the extent to which they are affected by the project or change. Write each name into the relevant sector of either a four or nine sector table as above
The Nine sector table
Larger projects with many stakeholders may use a nine-sector table to provide a greater definition of the stakeholders.
Having identified the stakeholders, prepare a readiness for change matrix to see who is for or against the proposals. This will also help you define any influencing activities that might be needed.
You may also wish to conduct a continuum of commitment analysis (see commitment, enrolment, and compliance).
Readiness for change matrix
- Understand your key stakeholders
How are your key stakeholders likely to feel about and react to your project? What is the best way to engage and communicate with them? Involve your stakeholders in developing your thinking – asking their opinions can be the first step in building a successful relationship with them.
These prompts will help develop your understanding:
- What financial or emotional interest do they have in the outcome of your work? Is it positive or negative?
- What motivates them most?
- What information do they want from you?
- How do they want to receive information from you? What is the best way of communicating your message to them?
- What is their current opinion of your work? Is it based on accurate information?
- Who influences their opinions generally and who influences their opinion of you? Do some of these influencers, therefore, become important stakeholders in their own right?
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- Building trust with your stakeholders
In order to work most effectively with your stakeholders, it is vital to understand their goals and expectations for the change work from their perspective. This enables you to form and build trusting relationships and share values with your stakeholder group in order to work most effectively.
To build trust with others, there is a range of actions and behaviors that are important to demonstrate:
- have empathy with others
- be straightforward
- admit mistakes
- keep promises
- show vulnerability (when appropriate)
- let go of grievances
- be consistent in thought and action
With understanding and trust comes the knowledge that allows you to challenge your assumptions in order to frame your change in a way that matches the interest of the audience. Thinking about how your frame your messages is vital – it enables you to tailor these messages and deliver them in a way that maximizes impact and engagement.
Working your way through the template below for each identified stakeholder, or group of stakeholders provides a structure for your thinking and actions to take forward in how you communicate and engage with your stakeholders.
Template for communicating and engaging with stakeholders
- Working with your stakeholders
Analysis without action is not helpful. Consider how to work with your stakeholders to engage their support.
As part of a change project to improve systems for clinical coding, it was proposed to implement source coding by consultants. The project manager asked the workgroup to identify everyone who could be involved or affected by such a change. The list was a long one, so the team assessed their relative power and influence within the system and produced the following analysis:
Stakeholder power and impact of changes
Using the results of their stakeholder analysis, the team designed membership for the project board (see project management) and a communications plan to keep people informed and involved. They tested various aspects of the suggested change by using PDSA cycles.
Devise a communications plan outlining who needs what information, by which method, how frequently, and how progress will be monitored. Brief the project team members on this plan so they know what to expect and how they might be able to contribute.
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