Keeping Your Stakeholders Involved in the Project
Stakeholder engagement is one of the most challenging yet important aspects of any project and is essential to success. The good news is that because stakeholders have a personal vested interest in your project, they will be inclined to help, as long as you keep them updated and involved.
However, many organisations still struggle to effectively engage with stakeholders, which can doom the project before it even starts. To keep stakeholders involved in your project, you need to understand their expectations, needs, and concerns and then work to meet them throughout the process.
Define Your Strategy
To define your strategy, start with identifying your stakeholders.
Identify ways you can engage with stakeholders throughout the project lifecycle.
First, you’ll need to understand how stakeholders communicate with you and your organisation. Are they invited to meetings? Do you provide information about your project and let stakeholders ask questions? Do you make it easy for stakeholders to provide feedback or comments? Identify specific events and opportunities where you can start building relationships with stakeholders. For example, you may want to host an open house at your offices to get input from key stakeholders.
Identify Your Goals
Once you’ve defined your strategy, you can begin to identify your goals. What will success look like for your engagement strategy? Defining success early on will help you stay focused on your goals as you progress throughout the project.
A target you may want to consider is to help stakeholders achieve their own goals. For example, you may want to help stakeholders meet their needs by providing a product or service that fits these. By identifying your goals and those of your stakeholders, you can start to create a strategic plan to help you achieve success.
Once you’ve identified your goals, you can begin to set your priorities, asking yourself questions like “What’s essential to helping me achieve success?” and then selecting what parts of the project needs to be done first.
Prioritising will help you focus on the most important aspects of your engagement strategy
For example, when your goal is to improve stakeholder engagement, you may want to consider engagement activities first. This way, you can ensure you have the proper channels and methods to engage with stakeholders.
Another way you can prioritise your engagement strategy is by considering your organisation’s culture and the service it provides. Both of these could have a profound effect on what is really important for your business and thus should be dealt with first.
Another way you can prioritise your engagement strategy is by considering your stakeholders’ perspectives and dealing with the issues that they think are most important first. After all, stakeholders have their own unique needs, wants, and important concerns.
Build a Vision Board
Once you’ve prioritised your engagement strategy, you can begin to build a vision board. A vision board is a visual representation of your engagement strategy. It helps you create a visual representation of your plan and can be a powerful tool to help you stay focused on the most important activities of your overall strategy. For example, when your engagement strategy is to increase stakeholder engagement, you may want to visually represent that with your board.
Another way you can use your vision board is to reflect on your strategy and progress. This can help you stay focused on the aspects of your strategy which are working and identify areas you may want to improve.
Hold a Brainstorming Session
Once you’ve identified your priorities, set your goals, and created your vision board, you could hold a brainstorming session. Brainstorming sessions can help you break down your strategy into smaller, more actionable goals and are a great way to engage stakeholders to participate in the project and engage with your vision.
You can also use a brainstorming session to help stakeholders visualise how their feedback can affect a project. Plus of course they may identify opportunities that have been missed. And in all cases, their very involvement improves their engagement levels.
Another way brainstorming sessions can be helpful is when you want to get feedback from multiple stakeholders on one aspect of your strategy at the same time, this allowing them to ‘bounce off each other’ and see that all are actively involved and more importantly are being asked for their views.
After you’ve identified your engagement strategy, held a brainstorming session, and created your vision board, you can begin implementation.
What are you going to do to help you achieve success with your engagement strategy?
Properly implementing your strategy will help you stay focused on the activities that will allow you to meet your goals and those of your stakeholders. Therefore, it is vital to construct a plan that will meet everyone’s needs.
However, it can sometimes be challenging to understand just what impact any particular stakeholder engagement strategy will have. This is where business simulations can really help, allowing you to see what works and what does not, all without risking any relationships, losing time or damaging the business in any way.
For more information, see https://www.prendo.com/leadership-challenges/engaging-stakeholders/