How to Recognize and Influence Rejecting Stakeholders?

First of all, how to recognize a rejecting stakeholder?
He/She is a person who refuses to work with you, or the work quality is the bare minimum. He/she might share openly his opinion that working with you or on your team’s topics is a waste of time. A more neutral but still rejecting stakeholder might be a person who is not rejecting you openly, but refuses or completely de-prioritize to give resources from his/her team which would be required for the success of your project.

Some options to influence him/her could be:

1. Trying to understand his/her targets with:
a.) Asking directly what he thinks it is important
b.) Speaking with his team members
c.) Speaking with the team under him
d.) Speaking with people from the business about services where your stakeholder has an interest. You might find an unexpected way to offer him/her proactive help.

2. Being vigilant for new CxO/Business targets where you could help him/her with:
a.) Simplifying a contract
b.) Offering proactive Reports
d.) Software standardization/simplification
e.) Supporting with security related reports (End of life software, Old versions, etc.)

3. Visiting the location of the stakeholder and organize an in-person meeting

4. Getting the mandate to work closer to him/her with from above. This has to be considered carefully, since it can easily backfire. If he/she is ‘‘forced’’ to work with you on a topic, that might get successfully finished, however you will not have the mandate always, so this has to be only used when it is a must.

What do you think what are the other ways to recognize a rejecting stakeholders?
What other ideas do you have to improving the relationship, and understanding him better?



Nice post, Mátyás. As we think about rejecting stakeholders, I wonder about the situation. Is this a “business as usual” situation, where the stakeholder has been consistently behaving that way over time? In that case, the options 1 & 2 are helpful because you need to conduct relationship repair. What has caused this behavior/response over time?

If on the other hand this is a “change-related” situation (i.e., something in the environment is changing - that could be policy, process, tool, etc.), I think that this leads into organizational change management, meaning the ability to guide people through change. One technique is called the ADKAR model: Awareness (of the need for change), Desire (to participate and support the change), Knowledge (on how to change), Ability (to implement desired skills & behaviors), and Reinforcement (to sustain the change). Hints are in the description of each part of the model about what might be driving the resistance. For example, if the stakeholder feels that they don’t have the resources to do the work required, or if they feel like their team hasn’t been given proper training, they will resist. If they don’t understand the reason behind a change of how they work, they will resent it. Those things are in your power to change.

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You touched the sweet spot of the SAM profession…being an organizational change manager and using such methodologies are crucial for successful SAM. The word of licensing often changes faster than the average speed of the organization to follow trends.

‘‘What has caused this behavior/response over time?’’ There are various ways to improve relationship. The cultural differences can have a significant impact on the success, however what I found usually successful, when SAM is not only ‘‘preaching’’ about the necessity of transparency, but really delivers transparency. For example, due to strict data protection policies giving out general SAM tool access is not possible, however lot of SAM tools are capable of creating regional accounts. If you found difficult to attract the interest of a regional stakeholder, why you not giving him or his department a regional access to their own data? In most of the cases even with giving a workshop how to use the SAM tool, the maximum what they will understand is the type of question that ‘‘you’’ can answer, because reading out the data is too difficult. And that is what you exactly need, creating awareness on the potential services, reports, that can be asked from the SAM department. It is easy to be an ‘‘island’’ of data, however for creating bridges, you need to find connection points :slight_smile:


Very true and you touched on another important concept: How ITAM/SAM managers can help stakeholders interpret the data. It’s not enough to show them a dashboard or send them a report - we need to be able to show value by interpreting the data and highlighting what’s important to the stakeholder.