Getting and Keeping Stakeholders on Your Side
7 Tried and Tested Ways Your Leaders Can Keep Stakeholders in the Loop
Stakeholders play a vital role in an organisation’s growth and performance, providing value through resource, capital and insight. However, this can only happen if stakeholders are kept in the loop about what’s happening in the company.
In today’s article, we reveal 7 tried and tested ways your leaders and managers can keep stakeholders in the loop, recommended by members of Forbes Coaches Council.
1. Collaborate to Create Stakeholder Maps for Projects
Before beginning a project or assignment, the project manager should create a stakeholder map and communication plan and then share this with stakeholders so they can let them know if they’d prefer more/less communication. This ensures that stakeholders are kept sufficiently informed and happy - they don’t feel left out because they’re receiving too little communication, and they don’t feel overwhelmed and bombarded because they’re being involved in too many meetings and granular updates.
Andrew Constable, Founder of Visualise Solutions
2. Use Short Videos to Give Meaningful and Memorable Updates
Using this “show and tell” method of giving updates through videos makes them much more engaging and easy to understand. These videos should be up to 30 seconds long, and should be super focused on a very specific update or piece of information. Leaders and managers showing that they’ve taken the time to record a personal video also makes stakeholders feel much more valued, making them more likely to be supportive of the project at hand.
Robin Blakely, CEO at Creative Center of America
3. Keep Updates Frequent and Regular
One of the keys to keeping stakeholders in the loop is making sure updates are both frequent and regular. Having frequent updates ensures that stakeholders don’t get behind on progress of a project, and making sure that updates are regular means that stakeholders know when to expect their next update e.g. every other Friday at 10am.
Bryan Powell, Director at Executive Coaching Space
4. Create Opportunity for Stakeholder Involvement in Meetings
Rather than simply talking at stakeholders for the entire catch up, leaders should designate time at the end of every update for stakeholders to ask questions, give their opinion, or speak about anything else that’s on their mind in relation to the project. This makes stakeholders feel involved and part of a team, and provides leaders with valuable insight and feedback.
Deborah Hightower, CEO at Deborah Hightower Inc
5. Start Every Update with a Recap
“Recap where you’ve been before, share where you are, and then say where you’re going next”. When holding catch ups, it’s important to remember that some stakeholders may not have been able to attend the last meeting or may have missed the email. Or even if they did attend, stakeholders - particularly investors - are likely to be very busy and may have forgotten what exactly was said and where the project is at. “Repetition is the heart of learning.”
Darcy Eikenberg, Red Cape Revolution
6. Adopt a Bottom-Up Approach to Updates
Leaders should make sure that “stakeholders are at the table making the decisions” with them while employees give the updates - this reduces resistance and increases ownership. Whilst not every single person may be able to be in the room/on the call, it’s vital to make sure every stakeholder group is presented.
Eugene Dilan, Founder and CEO
7. Remember That Everyone Has Different Communication Preferences
Some people prefer phone calls, others prefer email, and some prefer video conferences or face-to-face meetings. Whilst you can’t please everyone all of the time, you should try to mix up the communication methods to cover all bases, rather than sticking to one method. Different methods are also more suitable for different types of updates - video conferences may be better for more complex meetings, but an email may suffice to give stakeholders a quick message about a small change in the project.
Lindsay Miller, Founder and CEO
Whilst these 7 tips are useful for leaders and managers to keep stakeholders in the loop, building relationships and working effectively with stakeholders is much more complex than this and can be a challenge for many leaders.
Want Your Leaders and Managers to Build Better Stakeholder Relationships?
Being able to form and nurture relationships with stakeholders is especially important in these uncertain and often difficult times. If you want your leaders and managers to be able to build better relationships with stakeholders, have you seen our Level 5 Operational Manager Apprenticeship?
Over 8 modules, this programme covers all of the vital aspects of being a truly effective manager, including a ‘Building Stakeholder Relationships’ module which looks at:
- Exploring the benefits and challenges to building stakeholder relationships and networking
- Contracting and planning engagement with stakeholders
- Developing relationships through emotional intelligence and collaboration
- Overcoming conflict with stakeholders
If this is something you’re interested in for your staff, click here to explore the programme further.
Until next time...