Getting the best from everyone can make for success of failure in your endeavor. And that means far more people than those directly involved. Here we are looking at any ‘impact’ that you might be having. And sometimes these can be pretty tenuous.
To be good at stakeholder management, it's vital that you consider anyone who could be affected, whilst not letting that get in the way of your project's success.
So here are some tips to get you started.
1. See the Big Picture
Practice, perhaps in experiences you have before it gets important, having a broad and creative view on just who might be involved and why. Think about when decisions affect you and whether those involved in decision-making considered you - and, if not, how that made you feel. Well, there are others you are doing just the same thing to.
2. Measure the Impact
By noticing just what the impact might be on each and every one of them, you will be able to spot just who are the movers and shakers. Who could be assets and who could be adversaries? That's where you come in - how well you can build relationships (and how fast), could be the difference between co-operation, collaboration and failure.
3. Lobby Well
This is where great networking and communication skills come into their own. Those with the best stakeholder management skills work on those who can make a difference.
Through keeping them well informed, they create a well of support, which can be a fantastic leverage tool in the future. In fact it's great to start to build relationships before you even know you might need them.
4. Spread the Load
If you have any people on your team who are really good communicators and relationship builders, give them a job! Get them onside to be able to get close to those who matter in your stakeholder audience.
By sharing the efforts to communicate with those who are important, you can build a broad base of links which can be utilized profitably. And, your team work closely together with a common goal.
5. And There's More
By using the team in the first place a better picture of those with possible interests can be built. And it's great for team-building too!
Your people need to be fully with you on this - treat them with care and attention and they will be your asset and not another ‘issue’.
6. Get Creative
Those with great Stakeholder Management skills build trust and rapport easily - and by doing this they can find the ‘hot button’ of their key stakeholders quickly and effectively.
And that often requires thinking ‘outside the box’ - an acquired skill - and one that can be developed, nonetheless.
Try to spot where to spend your time most effectively. Some stakeholders will be more important - more potentially damaging if their support were to fail. Time gets spent appropriately - and those who are already supporters are not forgotten!
8. Update Regularly
It's about keeping the eye on the ball. By making sure that a frequent check is made on the state of these vital relationships, it is a lot less likely that things can go wrong - balls do not get dropped!
9. Give Credit
By making sure that those who are on-side with the business; the project; the initiative, get credit as the end draws near, longer-term relationships and indeed future advocates are created.
Those best at Stakeholder Management go back and look at the learnings, incorporating them into the next round!
That's it then - loads to do; people to meet and hands to shake. Stakeholder management is indefinable in it's breadth - someone has to take accountability for this - and it needs to be you!
© 2007 Martin Haworth is a Business and Management Coach. He works worldwide, mainly by phone, with small business owners, managers and corporate leaders. He has hundreds of hints, tips and ideas at his website, Coaching Businesses To Success .