Too often, people move immediately to the information gathering stages of the assessment, without due consideration of Step 2. Careful thought should be given to who will be in a position to take the findings of the assessment and use them effectively. Information by itself doesn’t leverage change, but relationships do, and this involves people communicating ideas, analysis and data to other people. This step involves identifying the individuals and groups you most want to reach. Consider how these decision-makers acquire information, who do they trust, what information source do they trust and how do they make decisions? How can you get to those people? If you cannot reach them directly, who are the people they do listen to, and can you reach them instead?
This step is designed to identify those who are in positions to make the decision or effect the changes including those who can influence the decision-makers directly. These include intermediaries, the people who lean in to whisper advice into the ears of the decision-makers), those in civil society who can bring pressure to bear on decision-makers, those who can support, reinforce and strengthen your recommendations, in particular the academic community and other research institutes, and those in the media through whom we reach the public, who can also influence decision-makers. Central to determining who to reach is the concept of relationship management: maintaining the connections and influence over time.