Securing Stakeholder Support with Transparent Communications

Don’t work in secret. Don’t hide or avoid tough conversations and make sure you get out in front of anything you could potentially see creating an obstacle for your team. Your primary responsibility will be to keep the path clear for those who are doing the heavy lifting and one tactic you can use is full transparency. Keeping communication lines open for everyone will help prevent the escalations and build a stronger stakeholder support team.

Lyndon B. Johnson once quoted about J. Edgar Hoover “ It’s probably better to have him inside the tent pissing out, than outside the tent pissing in.”

Keeping your stakeholders close, well informed and engaged early an often will keep them from pissing inside your tent. There are a few tactics you can take to ensure this process is successful.

  • Create a steering committee that helps prioritize all requests and direction of the overall collaboration
  • Setup regular meeting cadences for updates to keep everyone aware of progress and ensure they have a platform for requests and feedback.
  • Keep entire project status, meeting notes, team members published publically so all can see. This will help you direct questions and allow individual to view for themselves.

Conflict Prevention via Transparent Communication

Opinions are like belly buttons, “Everyone Has One”. Word will get out about that you have executive sponsorship, funding and or a plan that may change how others will work and believe me there will be no shortages of opinions. You will find that many of the stakeholders, you need to work with will want to ensure their pet projects and or features get escalated to the top of your backlog list and will be one of many obstacles your team will face. There is a delicate balance on how to handle to help manage these obstacles but don’t get frustrated if one of the stakeholders escalates to their executives. You can’t stop that and actually, it makes that person look unprofessional that they aren’t able to work with you and in all reality the executives don’t want to hear it. The executive team will have an expectation of you that you are engaging that person and will resolve without their involvement. As a team leader they expect that you will come to the table with solutions and updates not conflicts and issues. Learn this fast otherwise you could see yourself replaced if things can’t be resolved. So, you know there will be opinions and escalations that will happen so how can you address it. Lesson number one, Transparent Communications!