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‘We are like a deli counter’, exclaimed the team leader. ‘Stakeholders keep coming to us asking for things! ‘As far as they are concerned, everything is urgent, and it is difficult to say no!’
Sound familiar? That is how one busy leadership team described the challenge of aligning internal stakeholders. Here is how the team transformed this into an opportunity.
What was the Problem/Opportunity?
‘Constant requests from stakeholders hinder our ability to do our work – to make progress against key strategic priorities and initiatives.
‘The result is that we are being pulled in different directions, with an endless list of priorities competing for scarce time and attention.'
‘Some requests may be ill-considered, perhaps even counter-productive. This is especially true when a new senior manager is involved.
‘We need to manage stakeholders proactively’, added the team leader. Continuing the deli counter theme, she said: ‘To some stakeholders, we need to be able to say take a ticket and wait in line’.
‘When someone comes looking for something, there must be a process whereby the request and its implications are evaluated or at least planned for. If we say ‘yes’, we must clarify that other priorities must be put at the bottom of the list.
What was the Goal?
Becoming more proactive in managing stakeholders is key. The team’s stakeholder data (provided by Pitstop Analytics™) showed a high level of alignment with business strategy and success (75%). By contrast, alignment with internal stakeholder needs was rated at 58%.
What Strategies / Solutions were applied?
Narrowing the gap between stakeholder and business alignment was adopted as a goal by the team. The strategies adopted by the team included:
- ‘Understanding where the needs and expectations of different stakeholders diverge from the overall needs and priorities of the business.'
- ‘We need to engage stakeholders in setting and reviewing priorities and making the required tradeoffs. If we do this, we can keep stakeholders true to those priorities and tradeoffs’.
- ‘Being proactive is key. If the only time we engage with stakeholders is when they want something or when we need something, then that won’t be enough. We need to move from reactive to proactive. A process of managed communication and engagement is key’.
- ‘Adopting a unified approach is also essential. Stakeholders cannot go from one manager to another hoping for a different response, or looking for the weak link. As a leadership team we have to present a unified front’.
- ‘We need to be ‘on message’ in all our internal stakeholder interactions’.
Looking to optimize stakeholder engagement and alignment? If yes, talk to us. Our stakeholder analytics provides the data and tools you need to re-set stakeholder relationships.
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