This week Tim Curtis discusses the importance of mapping the human terrain before entering pre frontier markets.
What are the critical elements of a Threat and Vulnerability Assessment (TVA) in the context of initial community reviews? Understanding the organisations that can influence the success (or otherwise) of your operations are the stakeholders that contribute to the ‘human terrain’. Mapping the human terrain creates the conditions for establishing and shaping the socio-cultural framework to enable investment and operational planning, preparation, execution and assessment. The human terrain should be researched and designed as early as possible. Once a firm has extended and promoted a certain approach it is difficult to change direction.
Core to understanding the human terrain is the conduct of stakeholder mapping. Done well a stakeholder map will be conducted as an interdepartmental activity that combines data mining with local research. The principle of source validation and reliability is key. Local sources are typically drawn from across the community, businesses, local suppliers and providers, law enforcement, international community groups and non-government agencies and the media. Single sources of information should be noted as being of questionable reliability. The stakeholder map will then logically lead an organization to the conclusion of the most influential and powerful stakeholders that will need a subsequent channel strategy developed to ascertain and win their support and confirm their ‘buy-in’ on the project or programme.
Channel strategies can then developed as tasks with defined objectives under a Purpose (what) –Method (how)- Endstate (the final desired position) structure. This can be assigned to Task Leaders inside the scoping stages. Often, and most effectively this will be conducted as part of the initial business case for market entry or project start up.
Stakeholder databases are then developed that list the details of stakeholder groups and members by name with contact details and affiliations. Whilst noting the sensitivity of this style of database, these should be asynchronous and accessible/ shared remotely across select departments of the organization to allow review and updates. The stakeholder database will be a living document that shows the assessment of individuals and each group’s Centre of Gravity, their motivations and interrelationships. Ideally it will also carry ratings on reliability and date/ time stamps for when outreach was conducted to that group or individual. Web based tools can provide suitable ‘software as a service’ architecture for stakeholder databases.
Next week Tim will conclude the article by explaining how Executive Risk Solutions can assist your organisation prior or while entering a pre frontier market.
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