Stakeholder Relationship Mapping - A Colourful Guide

Dec 9 / Lee Davies
Disclaimer. This article is not really an article.  

It’s a proactive learning exercise/article hybrid for Leaders and Teams as they wrap up for the seasonal break and start to reflect on the past year.  

It’s also linked to the language of colour and colour energy so we would recommend going back and reading our blog on the subtle art of colourful teams to get a brief understanding of the colour model, colour energy and the language of colour.             

How often do you pay attention to the relationships in your life?

This may seem rhetorical but most of us tend to go on gut feel when it comes to the relationships we have, with those around us.  The only real intervention, particularly in the workplace is when we receive direct feedback.

That feedback may have a greater insight into the given relationship we have with an individual and allow us to objectively consider the feedback itself and any assumptions we have made in turn. 

So, before we any further, let’s cover a few basic definitions.
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What is a stakeholder?

A person with an interest or relationship with a business. Typically, you’ll find that stakeholders will feel affected by the organisation’s actions.  

Some examples of key stakeholders are directors, employees, team leaders, sponsors, suppliers, and unions.

Next, what is a relationship?

It is how two or more people or things are connected and act towards each other. It is the state of being related or interrelated.  

You’ll find that business relations are typically connections between key stakeholders, such as employer-employee relationships or service provider-customer relationships.

Finally, what is a map?

A map is simply a drawing that gives you information about a particular area - in this instance, the area is your relationships.It is the way in which two or more people or things are connected and act towards each other. It is the state of being related or interrelated.  

You’ll find that business relations are typically connections between key stakeholders, such as employer-employee relationships or service provider-customer relationships.

So, what is stakeholder relationship mapping?

Stakeholder relationship mapping is an exercise we offer to senior leaders and teams in traditional and hybrid teams and across functions.; it’s also popular with sales professionals focused on key account management. The purpose of the exercise is to highlight the dangers and risks to ourselves and our business if we ignore our relationships with other people. 

The key learning is to help leaders and teams realise that they can come become complacent or ignore the fact that the relationship isn’t as good as it could be, and the result could be damage to our business or personal lives.

Stakeholder Relationship Map Exercise – A 5 Step Guide

Step 1 

Pick no more than 5-8 people across your work and professional life that are key to your success and happiness.  

Try not to pick everyone who thinks you are the best thing in the world. Try and consider some relationships that have lapsed over time or some relationships you instinctively feel are challenging.

Step 2

Get a piece of paper and create four columns. Give column 1 the title “Name”. 

In the first column, write their first name (or full name if they are both called James!).  

In columns 2, 3 and 4 write the headings – ‘Shape/Colour’ – ‘Score’ and finally ‘Group’.

Step 3

Thinking about what you know of the colour model and energy (thanks to our articles!) start to think about their lead colour energy and the quality of the relationship on a scale 0-10, and put a shape next to their name: 

A circle if the relationship is good quality – 8+ out of 10
A square if the relationship is mediocre quality – 5-7
A triangle if the relationship is poor quality – 0-4 


So, for example if you think Joe leads with red energy and you have a mediocre relationship with him then draw a red square. 

Step 4

Get another piece of paper and draw a big circle. In the centre write the word “Me”.  

Divide the circle up into areas that represent your life and the people within it – This could be family/team members/senior colleagues/clients or people who report to you.

Step 5

Start to plot your people in the circles – the outer circle representing those you speak to infrequently, and the inner circle representing those you interact with regularly. 

The size of the symbol represents the importance of the relationship.  In this exercise, we asked for key relationships so they should all be large symbols.
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Mapping A Path Forward

Now you have your Relationship Map filled with symbols, you have an opportunity to decide what actions you are going to take. Sometimes the action you may take has a direct impact on the health of that relationship.

Alternatively, the action you may decide to take is to change your communication style with that individual.  

Remember, this all links back to the colour model and the language of colour itself. Your stakeholder relationship map should help you to identify communication challenges with a colleague are down to different energies and preferences.  

In our own colourful teams programmes we suggest doing this twice a year or on a regular basis, along with revisiting your own colour profile and offering it to others for feedback and insight.  

As I mentioned at the start of this post, it's also an opportunity to pause and think about the relationships in our lives and take forward to 2022.

It offers a way of considering if you/we should do anything differently.

Here at People Perform Consulting we are big on the language of colour and the power of psychometrics, using a wide range of tools and models  to help Teams, Leaders and Organisations with practical yet innovative people solutions. 

If you would like to know more about how we work and what we do, you can click here to read our brochure online or learn about our latest hybrid team programme with pladis. 
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