Admit it, your first reaction to stakeholders who behave badly is to respond in a negative manner. You get your back up,  hot under the collar, offended, nervous, anxious and even dismissive. Sadly we don’t often take the time to well and truly understand the ‘why’ of the behaviour, and this tends to work against us when engaging stakeholders to participate in an important workshop, meeting, demo or review.

When I work with new business analysts, product owners, executives or any other member of a project team, I often ask them this;

“what if you could wave away the cloud of behaviour, find a persons intent and understand what truly motivates them?”

If you could do this, you might be in a better position to understand that strengths when overdone are in fact our weaknesses.

What if I said to you that your stakeholders have 3 primary motives, they are collectively referred to as our motivational value system. 

To be clear, these are not behaviours, but motivational values.  What is the difference you ask. Simply stated behaviours will evolve over time based on our experiences, motivational values are hard wired into us and do not change. While we have a dominant motivational value, we also are apt to demonstrate other motivational values.

Knowing what motivates a stakeholder gives you the opportunity to leverage their strengths,  and more importantly schedule activities and communications accordingly. Imagine how powerful knowing this might be if you are a Scrum Master or Product Owner. This is servant leadership at its finest!

Here’s our formula for success and we’ve got evidence to prove it!


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So what do you think?