Digital Transformation Today

How To Get Key Stakeholders To Champion Your Project

Whenever I’m in a meeting, I find it incredibly frustrating when I’m ready to make a significant decision, only to find out that we can’t because someone crucial to the process isn’t present. Still, these unpleasant experiences have a silver lining. They’ve taught us about the incredible benefits of getting the right people involved in your project from the very beginning.

Including key stakeholders is of the utmost importance to ensure that the project goes off without a hitch and will benefit the organization. Need some pointers for how to do this? Read on.

Why Involving Stakeholders Works

Getting noticed by the right people can mean the difference between the success and failure of your projects. Here are just a few reasons why:

  • Low-level projects can become high-level advantages. The most successful efforts come from the teams that have developed and engaged business and technical stakeholders, whether through joint governance or their development and internal ways of running projects.
  • If you find the right person to champion your project, you’ll have a business-wide sponsor who can pull some strings for you.
  • Your team’s morale will be boosted, because they will see they have external, top-level support, so they’ll feel that their work matters.
  • Gaining the backing of key stakeholders can be the best way to break through bureaucratic barriers to fully accomplish what needs to be done. When you hit a roadblock, it can be critical to have the support of an executive who can provide assistance or smooth things over.
  • When working on a new project, it’s easy to get lost within your team and forget how it will relate to other people within your organization. Getting the attention of stakeholders early will provide perspectives from outsiders who can understand how the various pieces work together, creating a better end product.

How to Get People Involved

To get the attention of key stakeholders, you first need to convince them that you and your project deserve their attention. Demonstrate the value that your project’s outcomes will bring to the organization. Keep in mind, you may have to tweak your sales pitch for different stakeholders, giving them the most important reasons that each person can relate to. This may not be the most fun part of the process, but doing this legwork upfront can make the difference. The time you spend here might save you hours of frustration down the road when you get the right people on your side.

Once you’ve got their attention, you’ll need to get them involved – but only at the right moments. You shouldn’t be overwhelming them with a wave of emails elaborating on every minute detail—unless, of course, they explicitly request it. They likely won’t have the time or desire to sit in on every planning meeting—which is a good thing, since they’re influential enough to be preoccupied with the bigger picture. Instead, keep them abreast of significant developments without inundating them with information. Even their indirect influence can be helpful, so never underestimate the power of name-dropping one of your project’s champions at the right moment to grease the wheels.

Final Thoughts

It’s always a major cause for celebration when we get a key stakeholder on board. Getting stakeholders involved in boosting our mission can be a make-or-break issue for our projects. Finding the right “champions” will eliminate future roadblocks, motivate people and help us make connections elsewhere within the organization. In the end, it comes down to convincingly demonstrating the value of our proposal and showing how it will pay dividends in the future.

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