Strategic Stakeholder Engagement
Strategic stakeholder engagement goes beyond the day-to-day management responsibilities of involving staff in addressing operational issues and of managing good working relationships with partners and stakeholders. Strategic Stakeholder Engagement intends to foster long-term sector growth and resilience by creating networked intelligence, strengthening relationships between actors in the system and encouraging distributed decision-making. The essential components include defining the system; understanding key stakeholders and identifying levers of change.


Bounding the System

  • Define issues/opportunities and drivers; define and identify levels, niches, organizations and actors relevant to the problem (or opportunity)
Understanding key
  • Where is it possible to create or strengthen relationships with stakeholders as a routine part of the ongoing work in the Branch?
  • What are the best ways to enter into collaborative opportunities?
  • Who is best positioned to open up new dialogue or other collaboration opportunities?
  • Where are the long-standing patterns that support or hinder our objectives?

Identifying levers for change

  • What kinds of meetings or other forms of engagement will offer opportunities to meet more than one engagement objective, and potentially scale up positive changes in the relationships between stakeholders? (cross-level influences)


See our Strategic Stakeholder Engagement Brief for more information.

Change Strategy Development
Working collaboratively does not come naturally for most individuals and organizations.  Sometimes it seems like the change that everyone wants is impossible to achieve—at least in this lifetime!  One of the most common stumbling blocks is the tendency to believe that change is a project to be managed or implemented, rather than a set of relationships to “dance” with.

Positive change requires energy, courage, and commitment to a vision that is larger than self-interest.  Just as importantly, it requires agreement on desired outcome and impact.  After that it is about working through each participant’s set of networks, and leveraging the relationship capital that is needed to make things happen.

Some of the strategies we use to support change initiatives are:

  • acknowledging and letting go of the history of the situation
  • re-connecting the group with a long-term vision and true purpose for working together
  • creating opportunities for learning from one another and for the development of practical skills and insights about how to move forward
  • continuously checking and re-visiting expectations and commitments—creating shared responsibility, resources and risk
  • re-establishing, (or establishing) trust as well as new and productive ways to work together
  • developing strategies to influence key players such as policy developers or decision-makers
  • teaching frameworks and processes that will streamline planning and collaboration
  • coaching and supporting the whole group, as well as  sub-groups that may be created to address specific aspects of the long-term change strategy

Ultimately our goal is to help you learn how to set up and carry out collaborative change without external support from us!

Design and Facilitation Services
Addressing complex issues requires meetings that are well-planned but flexible, so that emerging issues can be addressed.  In advance of meetings there needs to be solid planning work to identify and clarify the purpose of the meeting, and the best ways to use the time available. Meetings and workshops are planned in collaboration with those invited.  The most important element is agreement on the desired outcomes and the impact people are looking for.

We work to create safe spaces for tough questions to be explored.  Especially where perceived power is unequal, we ask that position and authority be parked at the door, and we ensure that meetings are focused enough to satisfy the sternest critics who don’t want to “waste time.”

Especially in conditions where there has been conflict among groups, we create a climate where everyone’s opinion is equally valued, and all contributions are encouraged.


© Ingrid Richter, Ray Gordezky