Value convergence is the point where the
values or priorities of each individual on your stakeholder map converge with
one or more of the outcomes on your stakeholder map. To display your map, you
will need a large sheet of paper that is easiest to use if you fasten it to a
wall. As shown in Figure 3.1, down the left side of the paper, write outcomes
at the top. Under that, write the outcomes for your agency. For LCCS, that list
would include: protection, permanence, well being, long term success,
prevention, financial responsibility, and public accountability.
Next, across the top of the paper, (after
outcomes) write: Political Stakeholders, Administrative Stakeholders, Mandated
Stakeholders, CSN Stakeholders, and Public Stakeholders. Now, draw a heavy
vertical line to the right of the outcome list and a heavy horizontal line
under the stakeholder categories. Next, draw lighter vertical and horizontal
lines to show the divisions between the columns and rows in the map. The
resulting boxes are where you will map the stakeholders. Since you will be
writing information in the boxes, they need to be as big as possible.
Using the LCCS outcomes, there would be seven
boxes going down the page and five stakeholder categories going across the
page. (As an alternative to a large chart, you may also use a notebook, with
one page for each of the thirty-five boxes on the chart.) Each box is the
intersection or “value convergence” of one outcome and one
stakeholder category. For example, the upper left box is the value convergence
of protection and political stakeholders. The “value” is protection
and the convergence is with political stakeholders. The box in the lower right
corner is the value convergence of public accountability and public
stakeholders. The “value” is public accountability and the
convergence is with public stakeholders.
The level of value convergence within each of
the thirty-five boxes is not the same for each box. For example, the value
convergence with protection and political stakeholders is high. Political
stakeholders value protection (child safety) very highly, thus, the level of
value convergence is high. Alternatively, the value convergence with mandated
stakeholders and financial responsibility is likely low. They would only be
interested in agency fiscal performance if there were serious financial
problems that caused problems with protection and other outcomes. They value
agency financial responsibility low so the value convergence is low. The value
convergence for different stakeholder categories varies, depending on the
outcome and how strongly the people in the category value the outcome.
Generally, all stakeholders value each of the outcomes but value some more than
others. Some outcomes are more immediately important to them than others.
On your stakeholder map, rate the value
convergence high, medium, or low for each box on the map. Write the value
convergence level in the upper left corner of each box on your map. Since you
likely do not have time or resources to pursue strategic communication with
everyone, every time, in relation to every issue, it is important to
prioritize. Your highest effort needs to focus where there is high value
convergence. That is where your efforts will make the most difference.
The next step may be somewhat
counter-intuitive. First, look closely at your stakeholder list. Focus on the
individuals whom you gave a “1,” indicating that you can
appropriately pick up the phone and talk with them about a concern or issue.
Each individual is in only one category so his or her name goes in only one
column on your map. For example, start with the people who have a “1”
and who are in the political stakeholder category. Now write the name of the
first person in the category in each of the boxes in the column where you have
written “high” in the upper left corner. (That persons name goes in
each box rated high.) Continue this process until you have included all of the
people with “1” and who are in the political stakeholder category.
(Leave space below each name for additional information.) When you have
included all of those people on your map, do the same for those individuals who
have a “1” and who are in the administrative stakeholder category.
Remember to only include names where you have rated value convergence for a box
high. Finish this step by adding the people with a “1” in the
To complete this part of the mapping, focus
on the map. It now has names in most, if not all, of the boxes where value
convergence is high. For each name in each box, rate the capacity of the
individual to influence the specific outcome for better or worse. For example, suppose
you wrote Joe Smith’s name in the box where mandated stakeholders converge with
protection. What is Mr. Smith’s capacity to influence “protection”
outcomes for the agency? Rate it high, medium, or low. For instance, if Mr.
Smith is your lead juvenile judge, a rating of “high” would likely be
in order. Beside each name on your map, put an “h” for high
influence, an “m” for medium influence, and “l” for low
influence. When you have finished, underline any name on the map where you have
put an “h” beside the name. One person may have his or her name
underlined on the map more than once.
Now, keep in mind that you are actively
developing direct, face-to-face relationships with those individual
stakeholders with whom you have not cultivated that type of relationship. You
gave them a “2” above. Add them to the map as you achieve the
desired, direct, face-to-face relationship and then rate their influence,
underlining the name if their capacity to influence the particular outcome is
Finally, focus on those people on your
stakeholder list to whom you have given a “3,” indicating that you do
not have a direct relationship and that a direct relationship is unlikely and
perhaps inappropriate. For each person who has a “3,” note which shareholder
category he belongs to. Does the individual have a high capacity to influence
any of the outcomes where value convergence is high? Look at the boxes in the
column where you have written “high” in the upper left corner. Does
the individual have a high capacity to influence that outcome for the agency?
If so, write the name in the box and draw a wavy line under the name.
For each box on your map, look at the people
whose names are underlined. For each person, ask this question. Can this person
contact anyone on a direct, face-to-face basis whose name has a wavy line under
it? If so, that represents potential access to that person. You can directly
contact person “A” and he can, in turn, directly contact person
“B.” That is an indirect connection. Write person “A’s”
name in parentheses immediately under person B’s name. That is one connection
or access route to that individual. On your map, you may have more than one
name in parentheses under some names.
Now make a list of the organizations and
associations to which you or the agency belong. Through these affiliations, you
can have indirect access to people whom you cannot contact directly or to whom
you do not have regular access. Look at all of the names on your map, including
those whose names are underlined and those who have wavy lines under their
names. Under the names, write the name of each organization or association that
has or can have direct contact with that individual. Put the organization or
association name in brackets. That is a connection or access route to the
This step is critical. Focus on each name in
parentheses or brackets on your map and consider the box where their name is.
Does that person or organization have any vested interest in or ability to
influence the outcome represented by the box, the outcome in the same row as
the box? If not, draw a line through that name. You may be able to persuade
someone to do you a favor and give you indirect access to someone else but the
interpersonal cost over time is just too high. As tempting as it may be, resist
the temptation. Do not inappropriately use people you know and who trust you.
For those people who have wavy lines under their names and with whom you do not
have an access route, your challenge is to develop or cultivate one. Never
shortcut this process.
You are finished with this part of developing
your agency’s stakeholder map. You may be surprised to see how many people you
now need to actively include in your strategic communication plan. It would not
be unusual for even small agencies to have several hundred names on their map.
Everyone on the map is important and none can be ignored or overlooked. The
success of the agency’s strategic plan and the success of the agency itself are
dependent on your ability to develop and implement a strategic communication
plan that attends to every stakeholder on your map. Anything less potentially
jeopardizes your agency and threatens protection, permanence, well-being, and
the long-term success of your children.