Whether they’re involved in a one-off project or an ongoing business venture, stakeholders are central to your success. As a leader, it’s essential that you keep your extended team engaged and happy. So, to help you in this quest, we’ve developed five killer strategies for boosting stakeholder satisfaction:
1. Keep them in the loop
While corporate gifts and expensive bottles of whiskey will always go down well, most stakeholders value clear communication above such fancy perks. We all understand the importance of this in theory. However, it can start to feel like a waste of time when you have more pressing tasks and deadlines to deal with. If you’re a practical person who tends to get task-focused, then it’s worth adding regular catch-ups with stakeholders to your calendar. Otherwise, you’re at risk of leaving them feeling like they’re in the dark, which can lead to major issues.
2. Genuinely listen
In addition to keeping your stakeholders up-to-date with everything you’re doing, it’s important to give them a platform in which to share their ideas and concerns. Let a small worry go unaddressed and it can blow out of proportion in even the most reasonable person’s mind. Then an issue you could’ve addressed in less than a minute can end up requiring major damage control. Avoid these dramas and keep your stakeholders happy by listening to what they have to say, making sure you understand, and then taking the most appropriate action.
3. Juggle their expectations
By keeping your stakeholders in the loop and listening to their thoughts and concerns, you’ll be able to accurately gauge and then manage their expectations. It’s common for people to misunderstand the level of involvement that’s required of them and the nature of their connection to a project. Ensuring that everyone involved is clear on each other’s expectations will light the way for you being able to achieve everyone’s desired goals.
4. Get them involved
At this stage, you should have a clear understanding of what each person, or the organization that they represent wants, what they expect, and how involved they wish to be. The next step is to start meeting those expectations in a way that allows each of your stakeholders to feel invested in the project. The sense of collaborative ownership that arises from this is what will keep all parties happy and on-board with your leadership.
5. Deliver results they can digest
Regardless of how much or how little progress you’ve made, how grand or diminutive your achievements have been, you need to share the details with your stakeholders in a format they can easily understand. Data can be presented in a multitude of ways, so it’s up to you to choose one that makes your successes shine. At the same time, you want to be able to present any setbacks in a way that allows you to clarify your plan for overcoming the challenges.
The same set of data points can have a drastically different impact on your audience when presented to them in contrasting ways. So, if you’re not all that tech-savvy, then consider outsourcing this crucial task to a suitably qualified team member or a talented freelancer.
Happy stakeholders are central to the success of any project or startup enterprise. Engaging them early on, maintaining transparency, and genuinely listening to them will allow you to clarify their expectations and then deliver the results they’re looking for. Manage these tricky professional relationships effectively, and your stakeholders will become valuable assets and satisfied customers whom you can work with for years to come.
Image Credits: Anna Shvets