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Our suggestion is to allow your stakeholders to complete the Declaration anonymously. In a workshop environment this works more efficiently and allows the respondent, after some thought, to give their true answer. This is what the project desires: a true and accurate representation of the proposed project landscape. We have done this a few times and it seems to work best. With almost every good idea though comes a downside, penalty or unwanted consequence.

The downside of the anonymous approach is that you lose the source of specific responses and therefore this leaves you with less management information about the informant and the exact group they represent. For example if your workshop has a mixture of business and technical people it may be interesting to know, or turn out to be significant to demonstrate, the views of a section of your stakeholders. This might allow you to share that view with that section of your stakeholders and explore with them how you might influence or change that view in order to positively benefit the project.

With almost every downside comes a convenient and ingenious little workaround too. The solution is to record the Group that the respondent represents. So in this instance we would ask them to record business or technical as their group on their anonymous response. It makes something of a mockery of the term anonymous but if you explain that the source of their response will not be revealed and that is the basis of the claim for anonymity, they will understand. If they do not understand and have cause for complaint, sharp taps to the head with heavy blunt instruments invariably quieten, but at the same time ironically add to, their discomfort. If any Health and Safety professionals are reading this: heavy blunt instruments are a joke; heavy sharp instruments are much more successful, do not you find?

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