Stakeholder Engagement – Inform, Influence or Involve?

A change in one area radiates out to the rest of the organization. Some groups are affected more than others. How do you determine whether you need to communicate or collaborate? Once you identify your stakeholders (see Three Main Impact Zones of Change), it’s time to determine if you need to inform, influence, or involve them.


For those whom the change has minimal impact, they may just need awareness that something new is happening. Rather than surprising them later, make an effort to inform them before the change happens. That way, they can gauge for themselves the impact the change will have on them. It may be more than you realize, in which case they can jump in to figure it out rather than stand in your way later.


Some individuals and groups don’t just need to know about the change, they will have to do something different to enable it to happen. You need some commitment from them to support the change. You need to influence a decision or behavior on their part. For example, you may need a department manager to provide some people to work on the project or funds from their budget to purchase software to support the endeavor.


For those who are closest to the change, it would be better to invite them to participate. Rather than trying to convince (influence) them to do something different or adopt a new way of doing things, you could ask for their help in designing the new way. Involve them in finding the solutions to agreed-upon problems. Empower them to work together to find the way. For example, invite the people who will use a new information system to design the reports they need to improve on the existing ones. For larger groups, interview them and collect ideas, and then ask for feedback on the compiled results, so people feel like they’ve been heard.

In a way, the decision to inform, influence, or involve loosely follows the Three Main Impact Zones of Change. Generally, you might say that Level 1, those whom the change impacts most and who will need to change the way they work, you would involve. Level 2, those who are in a more supporting role, you would influence. And Level 3, who are more observers, you would inform. This is not a strict rule, because change is never so black-and-white, and there will always be exceptions. Some individuals or groups may need to be involved even though they are in a supporting role. Or you may not have enough resources available to involve as many people as you’d like, so you’ll have to find creative ways to influence them instead, while still making them feel engaged.

A crucial step in implementing change is to decide whether you will inform, influence, or involve your stakeholders to achieve the right level of engagement.

How to Deal With Resistance to Change

Do you ever feel like you have to drag people through the mud by their hair to get them to change?

That’s the opening line of my recent TEDx GeorgiaStateU talk on the topic of “How to Deal With Resistance to Change.” Watch to hear a little bit of my story, learn how to spot resistance to change, find out how you can better respond to it, and look underneath the surface to understand the true nature of resistance – all in less than 11 minutes!

TED’s motto is Ideas Worth Sharing – if you think this one is worth sharing, please do!

To Influence Change: Simultaneously Cause and Alleviate Discomfort

The status quo is the existing routine, the comfort zone. Change necessarily causes people to step out of their comfort zones, to learn something that was previously outside of their awareness, or to do something different that may seem unnatural or risky, or to go somewhere that is not well defined.

Discomfort is necessary for change. People first need to be uncomfortable with the current situation to have the energy to do something different. And if people are too comfortable with the change, it’s probably not making a real difference.

Discomfort with change also shows up as resistance and can hinder progress. Too much discomfort may even be paralyzing.


In order to influence change, we need to both cause enough discomfort that change actually happens, while we simultaneously alleviate the discomfort we cause when we make people step into new territory. Here are some examples:

Cause Discomfort Alleviate Discomfort
Create a sense of urgency. What we do now will not get us to where we want to go. Share a clear vision that fosters hope and inspires people forward.
Elicit behavior that goes against what is currently accepted/molded by peer pressure. Dismantle peer pressure. Develop supportive peer behaviors that reward and don’t work against the one you’re trying to encourage.
Cause uncertainty about the future by disrupting normal routines and changing the definition of success. Communicate as much as possible. Build trust and demonstrate that people will be supported throughout the change.
Hold up a mirror so people see and acknowledge that which is holding them back. Provide feedback out of curiosity, not judgment. Remove external obstacles to improvement.
Increase the level of candor and conflict so previously hidden issues are properly dealt with. Develop an environment where people can speak freely without retribution or denial. Facilitate constructive conflict.


In this act of both causing and alleviating discomfort to influence change, you’re not really aiming for balance or trying to eliminate discomfort. Instead, you’re trying to help people be comfortable with the discomfort whenever you’re causing it.

I’d love to hear your examples of both causing and alleviating discomfort to influence change. Please share in the comments.

Reserve Your Seat in Enclaria’s Fundamentals of Change Management Course – September 28-30 in Atlanta

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Fundamentals of Change Management

How to Design and Influence Change at Work
Three-Day Workshop

Atlanta, Georgia
September 28-30, 2015


Fundamentals of Change Management is a foundational course for anyone who influences change at work. This three-day workshop will help you design your change initiative to go as smoothly as possible and overcome the inevitable challenges when they occur.

No matter what type of project you’re implementing, Fundamentals of Change Management equips you with the steps, tools and skills to facilitate the adoption of change in your organization.

Who Should Attend?

The methodology taught in this course was developed for people working within organizations who are responsible for implementing change without having much authority. While these change practitioners go by many titles, they have one thing in common: in order to achieve the desired results, other people in the organization will need to change the way they work.
Clients have successfully applied Enclaria’s change management methodology on projects as diverse as:

  • boulderuphillSystem installation
  • Strategy execution
  • Process improvement
  • Increasing engagement
  • New service start up
  • Relocation
  • Culture change
  • Team development
  • Implementing a change management approach

Course Objectives


By completing the Fundamentals of Change Management course, you will:

  • Understand how change works at an individual and organizational level
  • Learn a straightforward model to organize change management activities
  • Clarify what really needs to change in order to achieve the desired results
  • Learn how to uncover and reduce resistance
  • Identify how to gain leadership support and engage stakeholders
  • Design key elements of your change initiative, such as communication and learning plans
  • Build the skills to personally influence change.

Course Agenda21hoursstar

Day 1 Intro to Change Management
Define Your Change
Assess Change Impact
Uncover and Reduce Resistance
Day 2 Assign Roles and Relationships
Gain Leadership Support
Engage and Enable Stakeholders
Ensure Accountability
Day 3 Pinpoint Communication
Apply Your Personal Influence
Put It All Together
Sustain the Change


Real-World Application: In this course, you will learn the principles of change management while applying them to your own project. Bring your team to multiply the learning and make real progress during the workshop.

Irresistible Change Guide toolkit picCourse Materials

As part of this course, you will receive the following materials:

Irresistible Change Guide (Workbook)
99 Ways to Influence Change (Paperback)
30+ Electronic templates
Course handouts

Why Enclaria?

A sound change methodology and a toolkit full of practical templates give you a solid foundation as a change practitioner. Yet, designing change alone will not achieve results. Your ability to implement change relies on effectively using your influence. In this Fundamentals workshop, we take traditional change management one step further by building your influence skills throughout the methodology. After three days, you’ll leave not only with a set of tools that will help you design your change initiative, but with practical steps you can personally take to influence change at work.

ACMP QEP™ Course

acmplogoEnclaria has gained the Qualified Education Provider™ status from the Association of Change Management Professionals® (ACMP®) for this Fundamentals of Change Management course. ACMP’s goal is to advance the discipline of change management.

The QEP status signals that this course aligns with ACMP’s Standard for Change Management© and adult education best practices. As it is a generally accepted approach to change management, aligning to The Standard provides a solid base for change management education and knowledge. This course also adheres to best practices in instructional design and delivery, ensuring you have an opportunity to apply what you learn.

For clients seeking ACMP’s Certified Change Management Professional™ (CCMP™) accreditation, taking this QEP course will ensure a quicker review process for your application as well as help you prepare for the related CCMP exam.

HRCI Recertification Credit

hrci_afc_preapprovedseal_2015This activity, Fundamentals of Change Management, has been approved for 21 (Business) recertification credit hours toward California, GPHR, HRBP, HRMP, PHR and SPHR recertification through the HR Certification Institute. The use of this seal is not an endorsement by the HR Certification Institute of the quality of the activity. It means that this activity has met the HR Certification Institute’s criteria to be pre-approved for recertification credit. For more information about certification or recertification, please visit the HR Certification Institute website at

Instructor: Heather Stagl

hstagl 2014 small

Enclaria founder Heather Stagl partners with individuals and teams to equip them to influence change at work. She has eighteen years of change management experience, including projects such as process improvement, strategy execution, culture change, and system implementation. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering from Northwestern University and an MBA in Leadership and Change Management from DePaul University.



Regular price: $1,795

Early bird rate: $1,495 – Save $300
when you register on or before August 15, 2015

Space is limited. Register early to reserve your seat!

Cancellation Policy:

The registration deadline is September 15, 2015. Full refunds are available prior to this date. Following this date, refunds less a $300.00 cancellation fee will be provided, or if you prefer, a credit will be issued to use towards another event within one year. You may send an alternate to the event without additional charge. To request a cancellation or to make a change, please send an email to Heather Stagl at


Roam Dunwoody
1155 Mt Vernon Hwy NE
Suite 800 (2nd Floor)
Atlanta, GA 30338
Breakfast and lunch will be provided each day.

Questions? Please contact me and I’ll be happy to help.

Communicating the Value of Change Management

Over the last several years, there’s been a surge of new internal change management positions and departments within organizations. Someone in each organization must have seen the value in dedicating resources to doing change well, but what about everyone else who needs to apply it? Stuck trying to convince everyone else of their purpose, change practitioners often ask, “How do I communicate the value of change management?” The quick answer is some version of:

  • Change management helps achieve the desired results for the organization because
  • It enables the adoption of the related process, technology, behavior, etc. and
  • It reduces the negative impact change has a habit of causing when you don’t do it well.

The limitation of the quick answer is that focusing on communicating value assumes that people not seeing the value of change management is what stands in the way of them adopting it. Think about that for a minute. If all you had to do to get people to do something new is to communicate the benefits of doing it, then you wouldn’t need change management! As a change practitioner, you know it’s more complicated than that.

Woman holding question mark flagGetting people to adopt a change management approach and use your change expertise is a change initiative unto itself for organizations that aren’t there yet. Physician, heal thyself! Use change management principles to find a way to influence people to adopt it. Such as:

Understand the Problem

Start with your reason for asking the question in the first place. When you ask how to communicate the value of change management, you assume people don’t already value it. Why do you think that? What are they not doing that you think they should? Do you want them to take you more seriously? Invite you to be part of their project? Participate and do what they need to do to drive change? What are you hoping would happen if you could adequately demonstrate the value of change management? Therein lies the true problem you’re trying to solve.

Identify the Transitions

State the desired change in terms of transitions. What is the current state (how change is handled in the organization now), and what is the future state (using change management)? What problems and frustration happen as a result of the way things are done now? How would change management reduce them? What is it about the future state that would make them want to do things that way instead? Have these conversations with those whom you wish would understand the value, and they’ll tell you instead of you having to figure it out! Involve them in designing how you’ll work together in the future, and you won’t have to convince them to adopt something unfamiliar.

Anticipate Resistance

Even if you could perfectly communicate the value of change management, some people still won’t readily adopt it. As with any change, there are many underlying reasons for people to resist. How does change management impact their role? What might they be protecting by avoiding change management? A project manager may feel slighted at the insinuation that the way they’ve done things isn’t good enough. A leader may want to avoid putting themselves and others in uncomfortable situations. Put yourself in others’ shoes to see what might be preventing them from moving forward, so you have a chance of addressing it.

Start Small

It’s likely there are some people who are excited at the prospect of better handling the people side of change. Let them help you prove the concept, and communicate value through success stories. Do such a great job that other project leaders will want to include you in their next projects. Also, remember to apply these and other change management principles as you implement change management. It’s a sure way to demonstrate your credibility and teach people along the way.

As with any new idea, it’s important to communicate the value change management brings. Just like with any change, communicating value alone will not influence everyone to adopt a new way of doing things. If people aren’t using your tools and skills to their fullest extent, approach the situation as its own change management project. Partner with people to develop methods that will fix the problems they’ve had with projects in the past. Help them gain clarity about their projects’ impact on people, so they realize they will need to think and act differently, with your guidance, to get the results they want.