With stakeholder engagement, project buy-in is often top of mind, which makes sense because, without it, your project could see delays, a decline in reputation, or even a total shutdown.
When we think about project buy-in, it’s common to focus primarily on external stakeholders, but what about internal stakeholders? Even if you’re not working on a company-wide change management plan or something that seems to obviously affect internal stakeholders directly, chances are, you still need to ensure you can effectively communicate with external and internal stakeholders about your project. Remember, internal stakeholders could impact your ability to access resources like funding, your ability to hit timelines, or permissions to continue.
It takes time for people to accept and buy into your project, so it’s incredibly important to identify and communicate early and often with your stakeholders. It’s best to start by brainstorming all your possible stakeholder groups (external and internal) with your team. If you need some help to get started identifying your stakeholders, check out our list of questions here.
So, what are some ways to help facilitate and win project buy-in from your stakeholders?
Communicate clearly and consistently with them
Having your key messages defined from the beginning of the project is essential because you want your communications to be well thought out, understandable and consistent. (Remember: consistent and honest communication helps build trust).
Engage early, honestly and frequently with them
Once you’ve identified your stakeholders and developed your key messages, it’s time to begin engaging. Your stakeholders want to feel involved and have multiple opportunities to share feedback about your project, which is why two-way communication tactics are so important (Remember: people support what they help create). Be sure to set a communication schedule and stick to it to help build trust.
Listen to them
Listening to your stakeholders is just as important as sharing your key messages as it’s vital to your project’s success to understand stakeholder opinions, concerns and perspectives. (Remember: “if we want people to trust us, we need to trust that the people we are talking with have something valuable to say.” – Kim Hyshka)
Help them to understand
Helping stakeholders understand your project is an essential part of gaining buy in. To optimize stakeholder understanding, it’s important to have the ability to share your information in a variety of visual and user-friendly ways like through organized reports, images and maps to better foster a greater understanding about your project.
Work with them
When it comes to stakeholder engagement, we know that this process is best accomplished by building positive stakeholder relationships where everyone involved feels like they’ve been heard, respected and considered throughout the process (even if the result is not their desired outcome). We understand that to build good stakeholder relationships, we need to build trust with our stakeholders by working with them throughout our projects, even if we share different visions.
Be sure to show your stakeholders how you’ve considered their opinions on your project and show you’re listening and remember previous conversations by always reviewing communication notes ahead of engagement sessions.
3 Ways Jambo Helps Build Relationships for Stakeholder Buy-in
With our Stakeholder Relationship Management (SRM) software Jambo, you’re bridging the gap between your projects, your teams and your stakeholders, bringing everything together in one organized platform to streamline your stakeholder management plan.
Below, we’ll identify a few of the ways Jambo helps with project buy-in:
1. Jambo helps you plan and understand where to focus your efforts and resources
Stakeholder issues are a reality in stakeholder engagement and can impact buy in. Suppose you fail to acknowledge an issue or address a stakeholder commitment; this could negatively impact stakeholder relationships, affecting their willingness to work with you.
Issues can also become project liabilities. The more liabilities you have, the less willing internal stakeholders might be in supporting or approving your project moving forward, which could impact your ability to access necessary resources and meet targets, as well as impacting stakeholder trust.
The Jambo issues management module includes a colour-coded materiality matrix and an easy to understand issues timeline, so you can quickly review the status and severity of issues. This all results in faster and more informed issues management.
As for issues that can’t be resolved until years into the future, you can manage your tasks, so they are never forgotten. If new people join the team, they can refer to the issue and all communications associated with it, allowing everyone to stay on track, regardless of when the issue needs to be addressed.
2. Jambo helps you keep people updated quickly and easily for more effective stakeholder communication
“Give me everything”
It’s not uncommon for managers, decision-makers or regulators to ask for a report on “everything.” Without a centralized SRM software that keeps all your information organized, searchable and accessible, these types of comprehensive reports can take hours to compile (without ever being sure you have everything). This can be a liability if you ever need to show proof of all the engagement or consultation that occurred.
With Jambo, you can easily run detailed reports on all your inputted stakeholder information in minutes.
Understanding your key messages and project progress
If you’re heading into a meeting with a key stakeholder, it’s important to be fully informed of all your previous communication with them and the current status of your project.
Jambo’s project dashboard is a useful tool that allows you to quickly overview important information pertaining to your project. You can also dive into your history of engagement with that specific stakeholder through the communications module, so you’re always prepared before your stakeholder meetings and stay consistent with key messages previously communicated to show you're listening.
3. Jambo helps you be more transparent for better accountability and understanding
Transparency and accountability are essential in stakeholder engagement—stakeholders want to feel like organizations are acting in honest and trustworthy ways, so ensuring that engagement efforts are as transparent as possible is important for stakeholder buy-in and project success.
Accountability with issues
As we mentioned above, while stakeholder issues can sometimes be challenging to navigate, it’s important to be accountable to your stakeholders by working with them through any issues to find a suitable outcome. With Jambo, you can stay on top of and understand all your past, current and emerging issues.
Accountability with commitments
With Jambo, you can understand commitments across all your projects, whether they’re general, financial or financial equivalent in nature. You can also search for commitments by status, helping you to understand where you’ve made promises and need to focus your attention.
Having all this information organized in an SRM like Jambo makes it easier to understand what your organization is accountable for and ensures you never forget a commitment, helping to make your stakeholders feel acknowledged and respected.
Accountability through sharing information
Sometimes you may need to share and verify the information you’re collecting to ensure you’ve listened accurately.
With Jambo, you can produce reports of communication records to show exactly what you’re logging to ensure that it’s an accurate representation of what’s been communicated to you—this helps build trust as you’re offering a willingness to work honestly and collaboratively.
With Jambo, we streamline the stakeholder management process, ensuring you can easily log your data and search and report on it as needed, helping to connect your information, teams, and stakeholders for better outcomes.
Check out our Why Jambo page to learn more about our SRM software and how its features can benefit your team and your organization or check out our two minute highlight video by clicking below!