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Stakeholder Assessment Checklist

Use this checklist as a guide to evaluate the individual and collective commitment, capability and
communication of stakeholders involved in your organization’s strategic initiatives.

I. Roles and Responsibilities — The success of a change initiative demands that all stakeholders
are actively involved and in agreement with the decisions made on the project. It’s also vital that all
stakeholders understand their primary role and the primary role of every other stakeholder on the
project — either sponsor, change agent, target or champion.

II. Commitment — Gauging the degree of commitment and the ability of a stakeholder to maintain it
over the course of a project is essential. Consider the following attributes:
• Provides clear definition of the goals and objectives of this implementation?
• Clearly articulates why this change is needed?
• Communicates a strong commitment to this change in meetings and written communications?
• Demonstrates a realistic understanding of the amount of resources required?
• Has aligned rewards and consequences to support the project and motivate people?
• Has identified and committed resources necessary to achieve the objectives of the change?
• Demonstrates a willingness to achieve this change with sustained, continuous support?
• Knows the perspectives and needs of the other stakeholders?
• Has trust and respect of and credibility with the other stakeholders?
• Transfers or delegates conflicting duties so that sufficient time and personal resources are available
for this project?
• Supports clear and sufficient rewards for successful implementation?

III. Communication — While the level of commitment may be high, effectiveness is a result of how,
when and to whom the stakeholder communicates, and how relevant the message is to those listening.
Consider these attributes:
• Demonstrates strong communication skills, providing clear, concise and understandable messages
about the implementation?
• Communicates the rationale and objectives of this change clearly to each target group in a manner
and language that specifies what is changing for each group?
• Communicates in a manner that encourages direct feedback and promotes a problem-solving climate?
• Communicates a clear understanding of the impact of this change on each target group affected?
• Knows the perspectives and needs of the targets for this project?
• Has trust, respect and credibility with key targets for this project?
• Understands the disruption that the change will have on each target?
• Can effectively identify and manage the inevitable resistance that will occur during this change?
• Can work effectively with both the formal and informal structure of the organization?
• Understands the power and importance of the organization’s culture, especially the “unwritten rules”?
• Can generate a high level of teamwork with key players in this implementation?

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IV. Capability — A stakeholder’s track record and history of success can help determine the leadership risks
involved in pursuing a planned change and lead to the development of mitigation strategies to address
any issues or concerns. Stakeholder capability can be evaluated by considering the following attributes:
• Has a history of successfully implementing change in the organization?
• Has prioritized other activities to reflect the importance of this change?
• Management skills generate confidence in ability to implement this change?
• Demonstrates sufficient knowledge or awareness of the technical objectives and requirements for
this implementation?
• Has established mechanisms and provided the support necessary for gathering data to monitor the
achievement of the change?
• Has good working relationships with the key people impacted by the change?
• Has a successful history in the organization with no major political liabilities?
• Has significant experience working with different functional groups, departments and levels of
management?
• Is viewed as a real asset to the project and not as simply someone who was available?
• Has a working knowledge of the key principles of how people and organizations actually change?
• Knows how and when to use power and influence to gain support for the change?
• Possesses a high level of diagnostic and analytical skills needed to integrate important information
about this project?
• Understands and values both the human and technical sides of the change?
• Is a team player, comfortable leading or following when it is necessary?

V. Target Skill Requirements — Every major change requires human beings to acquire new knowledge
and skills and demonstrate new or changed behaviors. Identification of the specific target audiences
affected, the required knowledge, skills and behaviors for each, and the planning to create those new
abilities needs to begin at inception and continue through to the successful completion of the change.

So, how does one go about using this information? Democratically. Put together a questionnaire that
covers all stakeholders, to be completed by all stakeholders. The categories and factors covered above
can be considered collectively to arrive at an overall comfort level for each stakeholder and category. For
example, when evaluating the Commitment category, consider all the attributes listed but arrive at an
overall judgment for the individual being assessed. If the category method reveals significant concerns
about one or more of the stakeholders, or if a more comprehensive review is desired, the factors can also
be included in detailed questionnaires that seek a response on each item. This can lead to a more precise
understanding of the issues and possible remedies.

— Adapted from Who Are Your Stakeholders?