Stakeholder Management - Reading People – Don’t be fooled by what they say !

Sign up for our weekly newsletter for updates, articles and free giveaways of case studies, templates and training materials every issue! Simply enter your e-mail on the right

One of the clients I’ve been coaching recently asked me how I seem to know how certain people will behave and react to certain things before they even happen? There is no magic here, we aren’t talking about the so called ‘soft skills’. This is a science, rather than an art form, as some people seem to think. It’s basically about being able to read people effectively and then being able to influence them based on personality type and their personal drivers. Here we’ll take a look at the first part in terms of effective stakeholder management.

Effectively managing stakeholders is one of the most skilled and difficult parts of any improvement project and this subject is absolutely massive and only covered in our Master Black Belt Course however, I think it is so important, I decided to pull out some of the key aspects, hints and tips that I think you can put to use straight away. Almost always, the degree that you master this skill is the defining factor in whether any project is a success or a failure and here is the first useful thing to watch out for in your stakeholders – the different behavioural modes:

There are two types of Behavioural Mode:

  •  Default – This is the one you may have to look hard to see. The Default Mode contains all deep seated beliefs and prejudices, goals and drivers of the person and basic intentions, be they good or evil. The way to assess and spot the Default Behavioural Mode, or DBM of a person is not by listening to what they say but by analysis of how they say it and the behaviour that they exhibit. Once you know what you’re looking for, you will be able to spot a person’s DBM, which is the key to knowing exactly how to deal with them
  •  Assumed – This is the mode that the person wants you to believe is their ‘Default’ mode and quite often hides the intentions, beliefs and goals that they don’t want you to see. The old saying “Take people as you find them”, isn’t always the best to follow. Of course, some people are completely open and only ever display their default mode but you need to be able to know the difference. The Assumed Behavioural Mode, or ABM tends to be used by people adjusting to their ‘audience’ or prior to trust being firmly established. (This is the one shown to you by ‘Two faced’ people prior to stabbing you in the back!)Always remember, the eyes ARE the window to the soul.This initial question got me thinking about the skills that aren’t part of the standard Lean Six Sigma toolbox but that every consultant needs to know and that’s why I’ll be running a series of classroom based masterclasses for my current clients around Stakeholder Analysis and Management, Scoping, Coaching as a Consultant & Consultancy skills and behaviours to ensure they are fit and capable to continue the good work once I move on to another client.


Paul Swift

Beyondlean Ltd.

Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.