Managing Stakeholders – Top Tips

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( — February 11, 2020) — Facilitations skills training programs will advise that how you handle stakeholders will literally help make or break your business and it would be foolish to ignore this piece of advice. When someone has invested in your company financially as well as emotionally; it makes perfect sense to treat them with actual respect and not just lip-service. They need to feel kept in the loop and that both their praise and concern are given equal billing. Stakeholders may not be as apparent as your everyday employees but they certainly hold as much sway; without them – you may not have a business to carry on with! So here are some top strategies to help keep your stakeholders on side especially during the process of change management:

Getting to know your key investors

Managing risk is an important skill – there will be stakeholders you need to pay particular attention to and those that are “easy” to deal with and trust that you have the company’s best interests at heart, so it pays to spot the difference.

Employing advocates

Tasking staff with the role of being “advocates” for change can help to resolve any conflict or issues raised by stakeholders who otherwise could hinder or even stop change implementation and can even spread the word amongst the more challenging ones. Convincing people of the need for change and reassuring them that they will benefit in the long run (in conjunction with the company) can be a challenging task but is a very necessary one.

Acting considerately

Different “messages” will need to be imparted at different stages of the change process with a certain tone or narrative depending on the objective to be achieved. Being considerate in your approach will help you and staff to impart the right method and style of communication necessary.

Building relationships

Stakeholders can underpin the financial and management future of a company and it pays to build and strengthen on-going relationships to take your business onwards and upwards.

Changing narratives

Taking into account the previous 4 strategy points; the overall focus needs to be on removing obstacles and preventing poor perceptions of the change management process for both employees and stakeholders alike.

Identifying the Key Stakeholders

Change consultants suggest compiling a stakeholder hierarchy to help identify those who may throw up the most objections and thus, obstacles to change. This information can be confidentially held in a spreadsheet or even placed on a project wall (be discreet with information!) and you need to include such things as name, level of interest and influence, who will manage them and the approach best taken in order to do this.

This process of stakeholder “mapping” should be an on-going process and communicating with them to get your message across is all about relationship building – taking the time to be nurturing as well as assertive to ensure the information you are providing is hitting the bulls eyeto help facilitate the changes you wish to make.