Updated: Sep 5
Have you ever walked out of a key presentation with an unexpected pushback? Have you ever felt that despite a sound basis, your client proposal fell flat? How about a project whose budget was cut abruptly? Or the headcount that you needed, but didn't get at the last minute?
We all face these surprises in our work-life. Minimizing them differentiates those who are successful and those who stay stuck and get frustrated. A framework that has proved useful for me over years focuses on certain qualities of stakeholders involved with the situation and the process of engagement through outcome, so here it is!
Step 1: Clearly document what your end goal/outcome is. Sounds simple, but many a time, I have found myself fumbling to explain exactly what I want and why. So, spending a couple of minutes with a one-note, self-email, or a good old-fashioned notepad has saved me a lot of anguish.
Step2: Map the process from engagement through outcome. Here, I prefer to list the steps that I want to take to reach my desired outcome. It would typically look as follows:
a. Have a short chat with my team to present what I want and understand their stance as well as approaches
b. Have a short chat with my colleagues who are involved with decisions towards my goal and ask their opinions/feedback
c. Draft a short document/slide and discuss with my manager the proposal and seek his/her inputs
d. Distribute my proposal to a wider audience (typically as per the RACI chart for this particular endeavor) and seek inputs
e. Make the final presentation and ask for a decision
f. Once the decision is made (favorable or unfavorable), take 5 minutes to think about how it went and send short thank you messages to key stakeholders who helped make it a success.
Step 3: Map my stakeholders for this process (mostly aligned with the RACI chart) and categorize them into the 3-i framework. This is a 2x2 matrix and you place people as circles of differing size (based on how much impact they have in the company).
Step 4: Put actions on the calendar for key people in each quadrant to safeguard the outcomes
I have used this process for key projects and initiatives. It has helped me to create clarity and minimize anxiety across a wide spread of projects, investments, systems, and hiring decisions.
I also want to leave you with a thought... the influence, interest, and impact can be positive (green) or negative (red) for your interests. Keep that in mind when you come up with your action plan.
What works for you? If you have tried the 3-i approach, do post your comments and learnings here or write to me!