Strategies for Acting Politically: Leverage Input from and Collaboration with Stakeholders

 In Leadership Strategy

When it comes to achieving population–level results, having strategies for acting politically is a key component of collaborative leadership. “Acting Politically” in this context does not point to the often negative associations with “acting politically.” In the case of collaborative leadership, acting politically means leveraging input and cooperation from all players who are related to your result. This approach acknowledges that all players have a point of view and can be a valuable part of the process, as long as you have a targeted and strategic approach to working with them.

But, figuring out how to do this takes some up-front work and analysis. By taking time to evaluate the key players that are related to your result and what their interests are, you can not only design strategies to engage them but also build-up, if you will, your ability to view their point of view objectively and gain the perspective and power that objectivity can bring.

With that in mind, the following worksheet provides questions to consider related to six groups or “stakeholders” that have an interest in your result. These groups are highlighted are:

  • You – Stakeholder with whom you are most familiar and over whom you have most control
  • Allies – Stakeholders most likely to be interested in supporting the work and gain the most if the work is successful
  • Adversaries – Stakeholders most likely to oppose what you are trying to do; they may have different perspectives, and/or stand to risk losing the most if you are successful
  • Senior Authorities – Stakeholders who hold a broader internal and external view of the work
  • Dissenters – Stakeholders who are the naysayers, the skeptics, and those who question the work itself
  • Casualties – Stakeholders who stand to lose something they value – i.e., a familiar way of doing things, their status, their jobs, etc.

If you would like to use this framework to step up on the “balcony” and consider the viewpoint of each stakeholder and how best to leverage their input, visit our website and download the worksheet on this topic using this link:

We provide there key questions to consider and answer for each stakeholder group, plus a separate section on how to objectively address the needs of the group we term as “casualties.”

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