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Value Exchange:

The last step in developing your agency’s stakeholder map is this. Just because a stakeholder can help the agency does not mean that he will help. He has to be motivated to help. This means that helping the agency must, in some significant way, benefit the stakeholder. Of course, people sometimes do things because they are kind-hearted and just want to do something nice. Unfortunately, that type of motivation is not dependable enough to stake the agency’s future on it. You need to understand how helping benefits the stakeholder and then be sure he receives that benefit every time he helps. It is a value-for-value exchange. With this focus, what is the value exchange for each stakeholder on the map?

Below each stakeholder’s name, you have already written what the person can do for the agency; you have specified PP (positive participation). Now define the value exchange for that individual (VE) in the form VE =….

To help you with the last step, specifying VE, recall that the individual is on the stakeholder map because he has a high capacity to influence one or more of the agency’s primary outcomes. The key to understanding the value exchange is to ask yourself, “How will it benefit this stakeholder if he influences the specific outcome in a way that benefits the agency?” How does it benefit him if he increases protection, permanence, well-being, long term success, prevention, financial responsibility, or public accountability?

In one sentence, write under the person’s name the benefit he derives from increasing the extent to which the agency reaches the outcome related to the box where his name is. Use the form VE =…. If there is no benefit to the individual in helping, ask the converse question, “What is the benefit in harming the agency?” Although there will likely be no individuals on the map who cannot help the agency but who could derive benefit from harming it, there may be. For them, write the value exchange in one sentence under the name, using the form -VE =….

If there are any names on the map where there is no value exchange (VE or -VE), draw a line through the name. Although they appeared to be stakeholders, they are not. Having done that, your map is complete.

It cannot be over-emphasized that your stakeholder map is a dynamic, ever-changing strategic landscape. At any point, the map has to be current, has to be complete, and has to reflect your best, informed judgment about all of your stakeholders. If it does not meet this test continuously, you may actually be better off just muddling through the murky political, administrative, mandated, CSN, and public environments. It is probably better to know that you do not know what you are doing than to think you do when you do not.

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