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Jeff Gardner
How to manage difficult stakeholders
Difficult stakeholders – how to manage..
The Business
Issue
How I
resolved it
The ‘difficult
stakeholder’
Jeff GardnerSlid...
The Business Issue
Slide No. 2 Jeff Gardner
The Business Issue - Context
Jeff Gardner
• Business Issue ; statement (Voice of stakeholder #1)
“We have no confidence th...
How I resolved it
Slide No. 4 Jeff Gardner
How I resolved it - ‘My approach’
Jeff Gardner
• In seeking the Exec’s buy-in to me resolving the issue,
my chosen approac...
Understand
Exec’s
perspective
What does
‘good’ look
like to Exec’s?
How can we
measure Exec’s
satisfaction?
Seek all
Exec’...
Jeff Gardner
• Taking into account the Exec’s input, I put forward
ideas outlining the following :-
1) Benefits
2) Barrier...
Jeff Gardner
• After 6 weeks the issue was resolved with an agreed
list of concessions and risk managed items
• Subsequent...
The difficult stakeholder (Exec)
Slide No. 9 Jeff Gardner
Jeff Gardner
• One Exec (Stakeholder #2) had a high interest and strong position.
• With more ‘at stake’ their chosen styl...
- back up data
Slide No. 11 Jeff Gardner
Jeff Gardner
• Stakeholder management is pro-actively interacting
with persons, groups and/or organisations to align
inter...
Jeff Gardner
• Depending on the impact to and importance of the
stakeholder, the interaction level is appropriately
scaled...
Slide No. 14 Jeff Gardner
Stakeholder Management - Matrix
AcknowledgeMonitor
Manage Involve
Low High
LowHigh
Importanceofs...
Exec’s Management Plan
Exec’s/Stakeholders Position Interest Influence Knowledge
Level
Engagement
level
Head of XXXXXXXX S...
Exec/stakeholder – Weekly report
Work stream Proposed idea Status/Progress
Customer
Services
Train the trainer RED Trainin...
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Managing difficult stakeholders - how to...

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I'd like to share with you my experiences in managing stakeholders, this is just one example of how to go about it..
My chosen step wise approach is a) define the problem, b) fully understand the situation and c) lead discussions to gain consensus on the way forward and with stakeholder buy-in. I consistently worked across many organisational levels and boundaries utilising a variety of communication and negotiation techniques e.g. presenting the problem definition in written form, setting up a dialogue (e.g. conference call/meeting) to openly discuss and iteratively documenting options/conclusions to take forward for stakeholder agreement.
As an overriding principle I strongly believe that acting towards others in a way that engenders trust is a sure fire way of achieving the best outcome for all.
NB for the purpose of anonymity the roles and issue details referenced are hypothetical.

Published in: Leadership & Management
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Managing difficult stakeholders - how to...

  1. 1. Jeff Gardner How to manage difficult stakeholders
  2. 2. Difficult stakeholders – how to manage.. The Business Issue How I resolved it The ‘difficult stakeholder’ Jeff GardnerSlide No. 1
  3. 3. The Business Issue Slide No. 2 Jeff Gardner
  4. 4. The Business Issue - Context Jeff Gardner • Business Issue ; statement (Voice of stakeholder #1) “We have no confidence that the promised Service Operating Model will be in place in time for the Service launch. Our Service Operations and Customer Services simply won’t be ready and we have no fallback option” • Consequence statement (Voice of stakeholder #2) “If action is not taken immediately we will have no choice but to postpone the launch indefinitely” Slide No. 3
  5. 5. How I resolved it Slide No. 4 Jeff Gardner
  6. 6. How I resolved it - ‘My approach’ Jeff Gardner • In seeking the Exec’s buy-in to me resolving the issue, my chosen approach followed 4 key activities :- 1) Seek Exec’s consensus of the ‘as is’ situation 2) Gain understanding of the exec’s perspectives of the situation, the business impacts and desired goal 3) Propose ideas and gain consensus on what to take forward and personally lead the discussions 4) Propose, agree & clarify next steps to achieve the outcome and lead the activities Slide No. 5
  7. 7. Understand Exec’s perspective What does ‘good’ look like to Exec’s? How can we measure Exec’s satisfaction? Seek all Exec’s viewpoint How I resolved it...1) ‘Seek to understand’ “These are the likely impacts and effects..” “It will be achieved when I can see that...... has happened and also that...” “I require these..... to be in place... and by......... date” “This is what I see the issue being about..... “ Start Outcome I ran this process with exec’s until I had the full picture Jeff GardnerSlide No. 6
  8. 8. Jeff Gardner • Taking into account the Exec’s input, I put forward ideas outlining the following :- 1) Benefits 2) Barriers 3) Consequences 4) Time/Cost to implement • I briefed each of the exec’s individually and then collectively in seeking their agreement/approval on which idea to take forward • I developed an exec’s management/reporting plan* • I worked consultatively with the exec’s and managers * See back up slides #15 & 16 Slide No. 7 How I resolved it...2) ‘Ideas & Execution’
  9. 9. Jeff Gardner • After 6 weeks the issue was resolved with an agreed list of concessions and risk managed items • Subsequently the Service was launched successfully although with a minor delay • The ‘lessons learned’ were documented for future launches (‘ask’ of Stakeholder #2) Slide No. 8 How I resolved it...3) ‘The end result’
  10. 10. The difficult stakeholder (Exec) Slide No. 9 Jeff Gardner
  11. 11. Jeff Gardner • One Exec (Stakeholder #2) had a high interest and strong position. • With more ‘at stake’ their chosen style was to object to proposals thereby pushing others to compromise • Recognising this I adapted both my inter-personal skills and stakeholder management style accordingly :- 1. I invested time to reflect on the needs and anxieties that underlined their position 2. I expended more effort and exerted more organisational pressure to satisfy their needs 3. I provided them with additional transparency on impacts, consequences and mitigations 4. I escalated their issues/concerns more frequently for quick turnaround 5. I frequently communicated and met with them/their team to provide updates and to consult on proposals 6. I adopted an empathetic attitude toward her predicament/concerns 7. I prioritised their needs ;when appropriate and with managers approval Difficult Exec - ‘How I managed’ Slide No. 10
  12. 12. - back up data Slide No. 11 Jeff Gardner
  13. 13. Jeff Gardner • Stakeholder management is pro-actively interacting with persons, groups and/or organisations to align interests and positions relative to a specific change or outcome you are owning eg through a Project. • The stakeholders interests are championed by a nominated individual, group or organisation whom the stakeholder trusts and delegates authority to act on their behalf. • In return the stakeholder is regularly engaged and appraised on delivery status, progress risks and issues according to pre-agreed criteria. Stakeholder - ‘the definition’ Slide No. 12
  14. 14. Jeff Gardner • Depending on the impact to and importance of the stakeholder, the interaction level is appropriately scaled :- high value stakeholders = strong buy-in medium > high value stakeholder = active consultation medium to low value stakeholder = maintain interest low value stakeholder = kept informed • Stakeholder’s can affect actions, outcomes and influence results and therefore must be managed sensitively Best practice stakeholder management Slide No. 13
  15. 15. Slide No. 14 Jeff Gardner Stakeholder Management - Matrix AcknowledgeMonitor Manage Involve Low High LowHigh Importanceofstakeholdercontribution/ Potentialimpacttostakeholder Collaboration interests
  16. 16. Exec’s Management Plan Exec’s/Stakeholders Position Interest Influence Knowledge Level Engagement level Head of XXXXXXXX Services Supportive Medium Medium Medium High Head of XXXXXX Operations Supportive High High Low Medium Head of XXXXXXX Services Supportive High High Medium Low Head of XXXXXXXXX* Neutral Medium Low Medium Low Head of XXXXXXXXX** Resistant High High High High Group Head of XXXXXXXX Supportive High High High Medium Group Head of XXXXXXXXX Supportive Medium High Medium Medium Exceptions **Manage Closely/Prioritise needs * Increase engagement Jeff GardnerSlide No. 15
  17. 17. Exec/stakeholder – Weekly report Work stream Proposed idea Status/Progress Customer Services Train the trainer RED Training late, recommend HQ based training followed by regional call centres. Retail Operations Implement oline/distant sales GREEN WEB development on track. Push campaign - changes to IT back end needed to trigger Service Operations Set up Vendor as Tier 2 AMBER Commercial pricing agreed. SLA’s not agreed nor consistent across vendors. Recommend review after 6 months of in-service. Life cycle Management Limit to frequent UC’s. Workarounds AMBER Lost and Stolen not fully implemented across systems. Update needed to IT back end. Transition Assign full time PM GREEN PM assigned but requires prioritisation. Eg to get Local to Group Service Desk running. Commercial Accept interim risk on possible returns RED Change in pricing notification not issued. Requires fast track agreement with Vendor. CVM campaign aborted – requires SLT sign-off Jeff GardnerSlide No. 16

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