Stakeholders will adopt change more easily if you do these five simple things to engage them in the change initiative:
- Develop a detailed communication plan in the early stages. Ensure communications via a variety of channels and methods in order to engage the widest group of stakeholders. Developing a communication management plan early makes it more likely that the project team will communicate regularly with stakeholders.
- Create a comfortable environment for the change initiative. Do this by communicating prior to the official launch of the project. Provide details – the who, what, when, how and why of the change initiative – to ensure understanding of the project. Focus on the benefit of the change initiative not just from the perspective of the organization but – more importantly – from the perspective of the individual stakeholder.
- Regularly engage various stakeholders throughout the project life cycle. Check in with them. Ask for their input. Have them share their challenges that may be addressed by the project, and otherwise ensure that the project will enable them to more effectively perform their roles.
- Utilize a stakeholder support committee. This is a great way to engage a broader stakeholder group (especially for larger, more complex projects) as well as to enable for the project manager to keep a closer connection to the organization as a whole. This group is the project team’s connection to the rest of the organization and can share information about the project as well as bring back information from stakeholders that will be of value to the project team in ensuring a successful end result of the project.
- Determine champions and resisters to the change project. This is more easily done when you have regular communications with stakeholders through a variety of forums – focus groups, via surveys, through department meetings, and one-on-one. When you find resisters – dig deeper. There is often some good information from resisters about the project that may help you to increase the success of the initiative.