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Influence mapping allows us to identify key stakeholders and the people who influence those stakeholders. This is particularly useful when managing change.
Making change happen can be difficult. The larger the change the more difficult it can be to achieve. But even in large organizations, there are usually just a few key people who play a disproportionate role in enabling a change to happen.
The purpose of influence mapping is to identify these people. You can then take steps to get their support. This will give you a much greater chance making your change a success.
You can use the following process to create an influence map:
Place the change you’re trying to make happen at the center of your diagram. If you’re trying to get a project to happen then place that at the center, or if your trying to get a proposal approved then place that at the center.
The next step is to draw the people with an influence over what you want to achieve onto your diagram.
At this point, you’ll want to show:
In this step, we repeat the process adding in people with influence over the people we identified in step 2.
The final step is to rank the list of influencers based on a combination of how easy they are to reach and how important they are to the success of your change.
From this, you can generate ways to reach and influence these key people you have identified. This will give you the greatest chance of reaching your goal.
Let’s make this easier to understand by looking at a simple example of influence mapping. In this example, suppose we’re looking for approval to begin a project.
The first step is to place the project at the center of the diagram.
The next step is to add in all the people with influence over the decision:
As you can see, there are several people with influence over the decision, including:
The next step is to add in the other people we can think of with influence on our key people:
As you can see we’ve added two more people:
As you can see from the diagram it’s easy to see:
Based on our influence map we come up with the following strategy:
Influence mapping allows us to identify the stakeholders who are central to a decision. More than this, it allows us to identify other actors who have influence over these key stakeholders.
Influence mapping can help you to identify these key influencers. From there, you can create a plan to work with these key influencers (where you can reach them) to push your agenda.
This will give you a much greater chance of success, whatever the change you are trying to make happen.