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7 tips to transform difficult stakeholders into project partners

Moira Alexander | July 2, 2015
Business projects almost always create change, which can also bring about significant disruption, stress and fear. That anxiety can translate into difficult project stakeholders – not to mention at-risk projects and unmet goals. Knowing how to turn these problematic partners into committed collaborators is essential skill all project managers should master. Here’s how.

7. Involve the stakeholder in the resolution

In order for a resolution to be successful, the stakeholder will need to be accountable for their past and future behavior and actions, in relation to their contributions, and how they impact the team and the project. Have the stakeholder assist you in coming up with some solutions that will enable them to re-establish buy-in and commitment to the project. It will also be important to ensure the solutions are implemented and measured, and do not change the desired goals and objectives of the business.

Without understanding why a stakeholder has become difficult or why buy-in has been lost, it's impossible to successfully proceed with a project without continued friction. That said, there may be times when despite all efforts by a PM to resolve issues, the stakeholder may simply have no intention of working cohesively with the team. In situations like this, difficult decisions may need to be made.

As projects generally create change, and that change can bring about stress, fear, and significant disruption, organizations will increasingly rely on project managers to know how to transform difficult stakeholders into engaged and committed stakeholders for successful projects and business results.


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