Tips to manage your key stakeholders
- Aim to build strong relationships early on with the key decision makers and involve them in shaping the system strategy and approach. Share your vision of what success will look like and give a ‘big picture’ view of where you are heading. Think of opportunities to engage them even if it is something that you are certain of but getting a sign-off helps them feel more involved and in control.
- Seek advice and assistance from more positive stakeholders on how best to manage and influence anyone who is not as receptive, particularly on important project/system functionality decisions. I have found that peer influence can be more effective than you, the systems/project manager, trying to independently influence difficult people.
- Regularly meet with key stakeholders: Meet those who are resistant to the change and the project delivery. Involve and consult with them so that their concerns can be voiced and at the same time take the opportunity to re-emphasise the benefits of the change. Also meet regularly with the stakeholders that are on your side as it continues to build trust and clarity.
- Agree how and when you will communicate progress and project progress and then stick to it! Keep your communications simple and to summary level and highlight key milestones and successes that have been achieved.
- Share your early project and delivery plans professionally and formally as these will show you have a structured approach and will build confidence in you and the training activity.
- Keep surprises to a minimum! From my experience most stakeholders like an early view of risks and issues. It’s important when presenting these to be solution- rather than problem-focused. Develop a number of potential options for mitigating or resolving issues as this will enable people to make an informed choice rather than feeling they only have one option on offer and no room to manoeuvre.
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