Ask the right questions to get the right answers

Stakeholders’ perspective : In this column, I continue with a series of articles which identify how to explore different perspectives driving success related to decision making, problem solving and planning. Today, I look at the perspective of stake-holders. Before you and your key people embark on any initiative to change or improve things, spend some time exploring people’s perceptions, understanding and commitment from the point of view of the stakeholders. Here is a list of questions that you and relevant others could consider. You don’t need to answer all questions - just those that resonate with you and your situation. Some questions will produce the same answer. Reason? Sometimes you can ask a question and get no answer. Rephrase the question and, bingo, you get an answer. Give this list to the relevant people and give them time to reflect on the questions, then discuss and explore all viewpoints. How could our focus affect key stakeholders and vice versa? Who are the key stakeholders here? Who are the other people who are impacted by this situation? In what ways are key areas of our operation affected here? Where and how will our focus add value for our key stakeholder groups? Who might be other stakeholders that we have not considered in this situation? How could we consider others (both internal and external) and appropriate action to generate maximum collaboration and cooperation? How could we think beyond our own needs and wants to incorporate the needs and wants of key stakeholders? How could we identify and incorporate the value proposition for key stakeholder groups here? What is the consequence of the impact on others likely to be? How will that affect our situation? How could we manage this situation to our benefit and to the benefit of key stakeholders? Who are we not considering in this discussion and how might they affect this situation? How could the actions of significant others be detrimental to our situation? What action can we take to prevent the detrimental actions of others affecting this situation? How could we generate the support we require from key stakeholders to be successful in this situation? What do we need to do to engage key stakeholders in this situation? What could we do to ensure collaboration and cooperation from key stakeholders? How could the prevailing attitudes of the key stakeholders affect this situation? How could we access, assess and integrate external stakeholders’ attitudes in this situation? How could we incorporate actions to change any attitudes that are detrimental to our situation? How are we separating fact from opinion? How well are we drilling down to get the facts? How might our current ways of thinking about stakeholders be limiting our effectiveness or future success? What ways of thinking about stakeholders might serve us better? Daniel Kehoe created and developed the Super-Thinker ® – an out-standing and innovative tool for decision making, problem solving and planning. He has worked as a management consultant / facilitator since 1979 in Australia and overseas. In that time he has worked with over 5,000 managers ranging from chief executives to frontline managers. He has spent thousands of hours listening to and exploring the important perspectives and issues driving success. The list of organisations he has consulted to reads like a Who’s Who of Australian commerce and industry. Daniel is a Fellow of the Institute of Management Consultants and is the author of the best-selling You Lead, They’ll Follow book series, volumes 1, 2 and 3 published by McGraw Hill and sold worldwide. On-line See the Super-Thinker ® at Contact Daniel

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