Managing stakeholder influence is an essential leadership skill.
What’s more, managing stakeholders isn’t solely the remit of project managers. Everyone can benefit from my top 5 tips for managing stakeholder influence.
The power of intuitive understanding will protect you from harm until the end of your days. – Lao Tzu
Managing stakeholder influence is about realising your goals.
Whether you’re managing a project, delivering a business strategy or trying to achieve a personal goal, influencing stakeholders will help you succeed.
5 Tips for Managing Stakeholder Influence
The following essential tips for managing stakeholder influence are more likely to work if influence is an important part of your job or you achieve results through people.
1. Understand Your Goal
What is your goal? Think about it …
Now, let’s be clear. To achieve your goal you are likely to need some help and support along the way.
However, if you can’t articulate your goal you’re unlikely to grab attention and gain support.
Therefore, be clear about your goal, write it down and share it.
2. Understand Your Stakeholders
Know who is for you and who is against you.
To make the future you seek more probable who should you influence?
3. Involve Your Stakeholders
By necessity involve stakeholders early and continually.
Seek feedback, expertise, suggestions, and questions from stakeholders.
There is no single way to involve stakeholders and any number of methods could be employed depending on each stakeholder’s level of influence.
4. Increase Buy-In
Tell them what’s in it for them.
Tailor your message and relate your ideas to each stakeholder. Take a balanced view and be honest and open about the benefits. Use language they are familiar with and support what you say with evidence.
5. Create a Platform for Change
Yes, create a platform for change.
Don’t put the brakes on change by over-analysis and a complicated messages. Concentrate on your goal and finding a solution to the problem.
Get people talking about what needs to change. Show people what you can achieved.
How do you manage stakeholder influence?
Creative Commons image courtesy Nic McPhee.