Every project you work upon involves large number of people. The inputs provided by them are crucial to its successful completion. You may depend on them for support, resources or investment.
Stakeholder management is the process of engaging these people and working with them through building positive, trustworthy relationships. Your authority and reputation as an organization too depends on it.
Forming an essential element of a project management, a stakeholder engagement plan identifies the strategies and actions required to promote productive involvement of stakeholders in decision making and project execution. Now, this is certainly not a simple task.
Each stakeholder is unique and so are their understandings, goals and strategies. The key to stakeholder management is taking into consideration interests, influence and needs of each stakeholder.
You must prioritize what and how many resources to actually spend on the engagement of different stakeholders. This calls for a strategic and consistent approach, backed by a plan with clear-cut objectives and a customized-engagement process.
Good communication is the cornerstone of a meaningful stakeholder engagement plan. Keeping stakeholders well-informed at different stages and giving them assurance about your project’s prospects is important. They can play a big role in winning their confidence and overcoming several hurdles.
Aligning stakeholders with your objectives and action plan is salient. It ensures that they understand the process, history, goals and the trade-offs made. Hence, there are less chances of backtracking or disapproving aggressively in the last stages.
Addressing the concerns of stakeholders and monitoring their feedback also fortifies your credibility with stakeholders. This also develops strong relationships, paving the way for better handling of conflicts resulting into creating win-win scenarios.
Important strategies in stakeholder management
The stakeholders can be potential sources of risk and opportunity within the project. It all depends upon how you shape your stakeholder management. You must be able to anticipate hazards, and take appropriate and timely actions. This can help you avoid strong resistance, poor implementation and negative outcomes.
Leadership development programs can contribute immensely to your preparedness for stakeholder management. This is because a range of business general management skills fall in line with qualities required of good stakeholder leadership.
Ideally speaking, a stakeholder management strategy must include:
- Identifying and segmenting your stakeholders.
- Setting parameters for stakeholder involvement
- Communicating, negotiating and managing conflicts
- Maintaining a transparent history of interactions with your stakeholders
- Monitoring the feedback and developments
Stakeholder Management is a Consistent Approach
Making decisions and taking actions around stakeholder engagement in a consistent way across the organization is fundamental to accomplishing positive and reliable results. This requires embedding stakeholder engagement into everyday business activities. Remember, implementing and employing an appropriate stakeholder engagement framework can go a long way in achieving your set objectives. So, if you want your business projects to reach to fruition, make sure you get your stakeholder management approach right.