Want to get a new learning initiative off the ground? Trying to win buy-in or momentum around a new program or training approach? Or, you may be looking for more organizational investment in your learning and development (L&D) department. If so, it may be time to revisit your stakeholder management approach.

Stakeholder management is a crucial part of launching a new initiative. It involves identifying and engaging with the people involved in or affected by the project, understanding their interests and needs, and working to ensure everyone’s goals are met. By managing stakeholders properly, you can increase the chances of success for your new initiative.

This article will discuss how to create an effective stakeholder management plan to help you get your new initiative off the ground.

1. Communicate Often and Broadly

Communication. It’s the first rule of thumb regarding stakeholder management., Trust, rapport and relationships are built through communication. And yet, too often in business, we overlook this simple but effective method of stakeholder management. Why? People get busy, teams don’t appoint someone as a chief communicator, silent assumptions take hold, deadlines approach and people rush along to get to work on their important initiative. It sounds harmless, but many times people are so busy with their initiatives, timelines and objectives that they neglect to connect with those who have a stake in their work. However, this is crucial for gaining buy-in, getting advocacy for your initiative and achieving positive outcomes.

When it comes to tactical approaches for communicating with your stakeholders, there is no one-size-fits-all model for executing. The most critical steps are identifying a tool for consistent communication, deciding who needs to hear the message and developing a strategy to execute.

2. Identify Who’s Who

A stakeholder analysis map is a valuable tool for identifying key stakeholders. It can help you understand who your stakeholders are, their interests and roles, and how they may be affected by your decisions. With this information, you can ensure that all stakeholders are considered when making decisions that could affect them. This will help you build relationships with them and ensure they have a say in the decisions that impact your project.

3. Uncover Motivations

Once you’ve identified your stakeholders and have developed a communication plan, it’s time to start influencing.

People are motivated by many different things: metrics, money, or their own bottom line. To understand what motivates your stakeholders, look at their role in the company, listen to them speak during meetings, and observe their objections and proposals. There will often be clues in this discourse that will provide insight into what they care about and how to reach them. Bring your initiative back to their bottom line and demonstrate what they can gain from it. Perhaps you need buy-in from someone motivated by key performance indicators (KPIs). Show them how your training strategy or approach will affect the metrics that matter to them.

Conversely, you may need to influence someone driven by financial incentives. Their interests will lie in how much return on investment (ROI) your project can generate for the company. In this instance, it is wise to demonstrate how your initiative will save or make the company money.

What about that person who pushes to understand the root cause of problems? This may be the time to show how your initiative will solve that problem. Demonstrate that you have thought through the root cause of the problem and show that in your proposed solution.

By understanding these motivations, you can ensure that all your stakeholders work toward the same goal and their actions align with the project’s objectives. Knowing what motivates your stakeholders will also enable you to plan better and manage projects to maximize efficiency and achieve desired results.

4. Remain Flexible and Agile

Stakeholder relationships are essential for any successful project. Stakeholder buy-in is crucial to ensure that the project successfully achieves its goals. To maintain these relationships, it is important to remain flexible in your approaches and remember that getting buy-in is to create a collaborative environment where all stakeholders can work together toward a common goal. By remaining flexible and understanding the needs of each stakeholder, you can build strong relationships and ensure that everyone involved in the project has a positive experience.