Keeping stakeholders engaged and happy – no matter what the project, business or investment, is probably one of the most important activities that you as a business leader will be required to undertake. Keeping stakeholders engaged and happy – no matter what the project, business or investment, is probably one of the most important activities that you as a business leader will be required to undertake. When the going is good, stakeholders are generally happy, but when the chips are down, and things don’t seem as rosy, that’s when effective stakeholder management truly starts to show its value.
Here are 6 ways to get a head-start on stakeholder engagement
1. Start Early
There’s no better time than now to start engaging with stakeholders. Take the time to invite them to participate in your plans – some may not be interested until later in the process, but most will appreciate your effort in engaging their opinion early on in the process.
2. Get stakeholders talking to each other
Sometimes, a difference of opinion amongst stakeholders may risk your project going off-track. As a result, to mitigate future risk, you may want to consider giving your stakeholders opportunities to meet together where they, themselves, are able to talk and build relationships with one another that will hopefully limit the amount of disagreement and personal gain – but rather, as a united team, support your venture’s development.
3. Seek to understand before being understood
No stakeholder wants to feel like just another name on a list – someone who is there as the token opinion. The most common downfall that most business leaders and project managers face is not taking the time to understand exactly what each of their key stakeholders role is, and how they, individually, can add value to your greater picture. Understand what their individual concerns are and take time to have them define what success looks like to them. If necessary, schedule regular sessions to keep track of how you’re tracking alongside their concerns and aspirations and meet with each one regularly to talk through their vision.
4. Hang onto your integrity
Whatever you do – never pay lip service. People see through fake in a few seconds – which means that you should also do what you say, and say what you mean – even if it is as simple as sticking to a commitment to send an email at a certain time of day. If you slip up, even once, re-gaining credibility and trust from your stakeholders becomes an even bigger challenge.
5. Be careful with estimates
Before you let any cats out of the bag – make sure that you check and triple check your proposals, figures and estimates. It’s very difficult reeling something back in once you’ve presented it, so if necessary – test your estimates on a few people that you trust before you present this to your key stakeholders. You will fell much more confident for it – and chances are, all the questions that need to be ask, you would have been asked already – and will be armed with responses and proactive delivery.
Probably the most important step of any stakeholder management: COMMUNICATION! Keeping your stakeholders updated (whether the progress is what you want, or not) means that they know what’s going on, they feel engaged, they feel secure in knowing that if anything changes, you will be in touch with them. Make sure you keep them updated on all important milestones, progress and results.
CFPro Ventures is definitely no stranger to stakeholder management. Part of the service we provide is to get your growth-ready to make a great first impression. So, if you’re ready for growth, and need support from people who have done this, and have a proven track record – then you need to chat to us today.