Managing up is just as crucial as managing down when it comes to seeing high-profile projects through to the end. Whether somebody is working on a product launch, an advertising campaign, or a big purchase, they’ll probably need approval from a decision maker before they can move forward with their plans.
In theory, this should be a pretty easy and straightforward process. However, things don’t always turn out that way in real life. It’s not always clear who is the one making a decision. Or, if more than one person has a say, they might not agree. When working on a project, getting the go-ahead from those in charge can seem pretty impossible, but it doesn’t always have to be like that. To help ensure success keep these things in mind when it comes to stakeholder management.
- Not Everybody is the Same
People with a vested interest in the end result of a project is considered a stakeholder in that project. However, the precise function that each stakeholder plays might vary depending on whether they are senior leaders who weigh in on crucial decisions or team members who will assist others in putting their ideas into action.
Suppose the responsibilities of the stakeholders in a project are not clearly defined. In that case, there is a risk of too many people working on the task at once, or some necessary approvals may be skipped inadvertently.
- Know the Audience
It’s not necessarily what a person says but how they say something that might influence whether they receive a thumbs up or down from a stakeholder in the situation. For this reason, it is essential to have a solid understanding of the various approaches to work that the stakeholders in a project employ. While there are leaders who like having in-person discussions about significant issues, there are also leaders who favour having a little bit of additional time and space to think things through asynchronously.
- Align Things Early
The first thing a person needs to do is find out who will approve and advise the project. However, before they get into the implementation phase, they must ensure that their strategy has been approved. All parties involved in the project need to ensure they are all on the same page regarding the project’s overarching goals and approach. An old proverb advises people not to put the cart before the horse, which is crucial when it comes to stakeholder management. Use stakeholder management software such as Borealis to ensure this process goes smoothly.
- Trust the Process
Even if a person has clearly identified stakeholders, agreed on goals and requirements, and figured out how to best convince decision-makers, they may still have a few problems along the way. Maybe they’ve shown several versions of a design without getting a clear sign of approval, or perhaps the project goals change after they’ve agreed on them.
Yes, this is often very annoying. And yes, it is easy to blow off steam and blame hard-to-please stakeholders when things aren’t going well. But think about this, people don’t have to let what’s happening around them affect them.