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Topics: Communications Management, Stakeholder Management, Talent Management
Reluctant Stakeholders
Network:61



I've seen a few different questions similar to this one, but not quite the thrust I am looking for. Our organization holds recurrent meetings on various topics to coordinate approaches to solving problems that come up during operations. There are some stakeholders who are frequent and ready participants, and others who, despite having as much to gain or lose from these discussions as any other, participate only intermittently. It seems clear to the rest of the members that their participation would be valuable to us, and valuable to them, but their perception must be different. Any ideas on how to bring them around??
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Network:564



Have you talked to the reluctant stakeholders one-on-one to see why they don't participate? Each stakeholder has their own reason, and you can only address it once you discover what it is.
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1 reply by Joseph Gherlone
Mar 01, 2019 2:40 PM
Joseph Gherlone
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Great point. The biggest problem is getting these folks to even answer the phone or return a message. We've tried one-on-one conversations, but usually the reasons they give are vague and 'excess workload' related. I've treated it as a work in progress.
Network:150



To encourage people to attend important meetings, I try to make it very clear what the purpose is, and to provide an agenda so they know up front what will be discussed and when in case they can only attend part of the meeting. If I am juggling priorities personally, I will pick a useful meeting over a vague one. I also try to run my meetings as efficiently as possible, so that attendees see the value. I try to maintain the operating rhythm rather than hold meetings irregularly. If people think that a meeting is likely to be cancelled, they are likely to plan other activities during that time. I even developed my own “Meeting Manifesto” on running effective meetings including these, and other practices after some extreme frustration.

If that doesn’t work, I sometimes have to elevate the issue. I keep an attendance record, and if someone is not attending regularly, I may need management to reinforce that the meeting is required. This isn’t preferred but is sometimes necessary.

Another option some people use is to provide food. People who normally attend via WebEx, will start showing up in person for the snacks (even people you didn’t invite). It’s amazing how a donut can motivate well paid professionals to do their jobs.
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1 reply by Joseph Gherlone
Mar 01, 2019 2:52 PM
Joseph Gherlone
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Great suggestions. Very similar to my approach - though that is harder to maintain when my boss makes arbitrary changes at the last minute - I do my best. I'd love to see your manifesto -- find out what I've left out.

Escalation doesn't really work -- it is a 'coalition of the willing' across a variety of organizations, so there is no 'management' to fall back on in these circumstances.

That's actually also the reason that food doesn't work. It's a good idea, but this is a nearly worldwide group that meets via telephone and web connection, so not really applicable.
Network:61



Mar 01, 2019 2:12 PM
Replying to Eric Simms
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Have you talked to the reluctant stakeholders one-on-one to see why they don't participate? Each stakeholder has their own reason, and you can only address it once you discover what it is.
Great point. The biggest problem is getting these folks to even answer the phone or return a message. We've tried one-on-one conversations, but usually the reasons they give are vague and 'excess workload' related. I've treated it as a work in progress.
Network:61



Mar 01, 2019 2:28 PM
Replying to Keith Novak
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To encourage people to attend important meetings, I try to make it very clear what the purpose is, and to provide an agenda so they know up front what will be discussed and when in case they can only attend part of the meeting. If I am juggling priorities personally, I will pick a useful meeting over a vague one. I also try to run my meetings as efficiently as possible, so that attendees see the value. I try to maintain the operating rhythm rather than hold meetings irregularly. If people think that a meeting is likely to be cancelled, they are likely to plan other activities during that time. I even developed my own “Meeting Manifesto” on running effective meetings including these, and other practices after some extreme frustration.

If that doesn’t work, I sometimes have to elevate the issue. I keep an attendance record, and if someone is not attending regularly, I may need management to reinforce that the meeting is required. This isn’t preferred but is sometimes necessary.

Another option some people use is to provide food. People who normally attend via WebEx, will start showing up in person for the snacks (even people you didn’t invite). It’s amazing how a donut can motivate well paid professionals to do their jobs.
Great suggestions. Very similar to my approach - though that is harder to maintain when my boss makes arbitrary changes at the last minute - I do my best. I'd love to see your manifesto -- find out what I've left out.

Escalation doesn't really work -- it is a 'coalition of the willing' across a variety of organizations, so there is no 'management' to fall back on in these circumstances.

That's actually also the reason that food doesn't work. It's a good idea, but this is a nearly worldwide group that meets via telephone and web connection, so not really applicable.
Network:150



Meeting Manifesto

We will not hold meetings for the sake of holding meetings.

For necessary meetings, we will know the agenda beforehand so that we can be present and prepared for topics that affect us but don't have to sit through everything that doesn't.

We will provide coverage for our teams when we can’t attend. If a critical representative cannot attend or send a back-up, we will notify the meeting host so that we can reschedule to a time when the meeting can be productive and the original time can be used for more productive activities.

We will provide realistic durations for each agenda item. If a subject requires more discussion than planned, we will not hold everyone else hostage and instead meet with the appropriate people involved to explore deeper.

We will start and end on time so that we can plan our day as can others who are impacted by our own schedules.

We will be courteous during the meeting, try to stay on track, and try to remember that not everyone attending is involved in a deep-dive of every subject.

Sometimes, being courteous to meeting attendees requires shutting down a deep-dive on a topic involving only specific attendees, so that we can cover all the planned topics relevant to other attendees

We will respect that the meeting host is not disregarding a discussion cut short due to time constraints, but instead acknowledging that numerous other attendees are not involved in every topic and we must respect their time obligations as well.

We will have fun and remember to respect each other even when we are passionate about a subject on which we disagree.
Network:1306



Joseph -

Are these stakeholders contributing to the project? What is the magnitude of impact from the project on their daily lives and how soon will those impacts be realized? If you've tried and failed to create a sense of urgency for them to engage and if escalating this concern through your sponsor or steering committee isn't changing things then what is the impact of their being disengaged for the duration of the project?

Kiron
Network:1746



"No pain, no gain". If the meeting do not have value for a stakeholder then she/he will not be there. Value is a subjective matter and you have to make it visible and objective.

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