He Obviously Never Did Stakeholder Management.
And there's a lot of them. Donors, communities, local politicians, business owners, institutions - I'm sure you can add more. You want to get more girls in secondary education? You have to consider mothers, fathers, teachers, community and religious leaders ... the list goes on.
They will be affected by what we do in different ways and to different degrees. The direct beneficiaries - they are the ones with most to gain (and most to lose if results aren't delivered). But there are others who will be affected.
A city decides to build a rail link to an outlying suburb. The residents 'win' - better access to social services, properties increase in value. But people renting get out-priced and have to move out and taxi drivers grumble about lost business.
Some stakeholders are more powerful than others. Whatever you do, you will be stepping on someone's toes, on someone's territory. A local politician may not be much concerned by what you plan to do, but still needs to be won over. And if you want those girls in schools, local religious leaders will have a lot of influence.
So How Do We Even Begin?
Stakeholder Analysis is a key part of any results-based project - both in the planning and throughout the project's life cycle through systematic stakeholder communication and engagement.
Through this process we identify:
- Who our stakeholders are - those people who can influence the project, or will be affected by it
- The extent of their power / influence, or the extent to which they will be affected
And then plan to manage their fears and expectations.
Managing People Always Has A Cost
So how we engage with our stakeholders depends on their power / influence and level of interest. But through carefully planned stakeholder communication and engagement, we aim to please as many people as we can as long as it's win-win.
What win-win means here is that the stakeholder is happy / supportive, or, at least, no longer a threat - without negatively affecting the project resources (time and cost spent managing that stakeholder).
So, while less poetic, we could say stakeholder management is an attempt to "please as many people as possible, as much of the time as possible, without negatively affecting the project's resources".
Doesn't quite sound as catchy, but it's a good rule to have.