The 13th Fairy – a stakeholder analysis fairytale for our times

December 5, 2017 § Leave a comment

The news that Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party have (perhaps temporarily) delayed the Brexit negotiations is the latest version of a story right out of Grimm’s fairy tales.

Some versions of the Grimms’ story begin with an invitation sent to 12 fairies to each give a blessing to a new-born princess. A thirteenth – and uninvited – fairy, hearing what the others are up to, turns up in a rage and delivers a curse rather than a blessing.

This 13th fairy is sometimes depicted as an evil fairy; but according to Peter Hawkins of CSTD, from whom I’m proudly borrowing the idea for this blog, this fairy isn’t evil. They’re just mad at being forgotten.

The result: they turn up late, and make trouble – because they were forgotten in the first place.

So when I heard the news this morning, my fanciful mind wondered if the DUP might be feeling like a thirteenth fairy.

And the link to coaching?

When we’re working with teams, or unpicking complex ideas, or making decisions which affect a range of stakeholders, it’s not always easy to identify all those who need to be involved.

So what might be the implications for coaches, supervisors and for those involved in strategic planning processes?

  • When supervising a coach who is coaching a team: invite them to map the team on a flipchart, and as a coach be interested in who turns up ‘late’ in the story; and ask, Who else isn’t on the flipchart yet? How are they connected to the other people on the flipchart? What message are they bringing?
  • When providing conflict coaching: asking who else is there in the conflict –  perhaps someone on the sidelines?, or who might appear less visible, who could offer another perspective or who might have skills or resources to help bring about resolution.
  • When doing a stakeholder analysis with colleagues, asking again and again: Who else have we forgotten? Who else has an interest in what we’re deciding? If we were to look back to today, who might we realise needed to be inside the tent with us?
  • When coaching someone who is facing a dilemma or a difficult decision: which opinions haven’t they paid attention to yet? Is there any voice inside them which hasn’t yet been heard? (this might be the voice of the outcome or some deep yearning which they haven’t yet dared to admit to themselves). What other options are available, in addition to the possibilities they’ve already thought of?

 

 

 

 

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