3 Ways to Explore Problems from Multiple Perspectives

Image by pixabay.com/ Hans Braxmeier

The best method to minimize organizational problems is to consider the perspectives of your stakeholders. Stakeholders are people and organizations that can affect or will be affected by your actions. And although most leaders are aware of who their stakeholders are, it is seldom that each of these stakeholders are permitted to offer their perspective on a given initiative. 

Take the example of a consultant who was implementing a new scheduling system in a factory. He considered the perspectives of the Head of IT and the plant manager. One morning a frontline supervisor pulled the consultant aside and angrily said,  “You’re talking about screen layouts and data. Don’t you know that you’re changing the job I’ve had for years. Talk to me about my job!” The consultant had not considered the perspectives of the individuals who would be directly impacted by the scheduling system, and as a result, the consultant had to step back and modify his approach.

Luckily, the frontline supervisor was able to stop the actions of the consultant before implementation. However, all stakeholders may not have this opportunity, let alone be privy to information about change before it happens. Here are three ways leaders can explore problems from multiple perspectives before making a decision to implement change:

  1. Ensure you have stakeholders from different “residences”

This is another way to explore differing perspectives. A stakeholder from Finance will, most likely, be concerned with money issues. A stakeholder from HR will, again, most likely, be concerned with workforce issues.

The challenge here is to find the stakeholders from all the functional areas of your company and the role they might play in the success (or failure) of the initiatives you are concerned with. 

  1. Ensure you have variation in stakeholder power

Gaining buy-in from the top is helpful to secure capital and a timeline for an initiative, however, the success of a project is ultimately determined by adoption. The levels of adoption necessary for a project will come from stakeholders at various levels of the organization (and some may come from outside of the organization).

  1. Ensure you have variation in stakeholder agreement

Some stakeholders will agree with you; others will disagree. Some stakeholders are powerful; others are (seemingly) powerless. Want a tool? Draw a two-by-two matrix. On one axis you have high agreement and low agreement. The other axis shows high power and low power. Finally, consider the actions you need to take to deal with those who are against you and how you might enlist the help of those who agree. 

What else can you do to engage each of your stakeholders while solving organizational problems? To find out, contact the Ascendis Leadership Academy to take the Organizational Leadership Skills Profile. Please contact Sue Drake at sdrake@drakerg.com for an overview of the Profile and ways in which it may be used in your organization.