Question – How Often Should We Profile Our Stakeholders?

I recently got asked: Dear Deon: I know stakeholder profiling is important, but surely it only has to be done once, as part of a strategic planning exercise. Any input?

This was my response:

Stakeholder profiling is a technique you can use to identify and assess the importance of key people, groups of people, or institutions that may significantly influence the success of your organisation, activity or project.

I recommend that profiling be done every time there is a new issue, incident, project or campaign being launched. Stakeholder involvement is context-specific; what works in one situation may not be appropriate in another.

Also, Stakeholders change per project, time or situation – they never stay static and can change their position on an issue overnight. A relevant example is that of Vodacom who discovered a few days prior to their listing that two of their stakeholders, ICASA & Cosatu had gone to court the night before to try and stop their listing.