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Topics: Change Management, Pharmaceutical, Stakeholder Management
What are the best ways/Questions to ask for a non cooperative stakeholder
I am working on a new project and new stakeholders. I have hard time to get the real expectations and engagement level from couple of stakeholders. I am looking for right set of questions which will help me to achieve my goal.
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I think you have to to sit down with them and understand their role on the project. Once you do that, and it is funny you say this I just was working on this for a new class i am building, but I like the idea of defining what you want the stakeholder to do on the project. Do you want them to be informed, collaborate, decide...etc. When you start to formulate what you need out of the stakeholders, you drive the questions and the expectations, compared to go to them with a set of questions? Does that help?

Hello to my Ottawa, Ont friends. I lived there for 6 months back in the late 80's. Super cold... :) But awesome, loved it there!
Take a look to SPIN Selling or Solution Selling method. It is something that works to work on stakeholders pain to change their perception.
At first you need to identify those stakeholders and know their current interest and impact on the project and plan your questions to bring these stakeholders to the desired status you want them to be in.
If I were in your shoes I would ask them the following questions:
-What do you think of the deliverable as per our plan? Any suggestions to bring it up to your expectations? Any comments on the deliverable?
-What is your main outcome of this project? Is it achievable? if yes or no then ask Why? and let the Stakeholders give you suggestions and get a limited involvement that will attract them to your project.
Stakeholders will lose interest when they do not see the project advancing their particular interests. Their question to you - stated or not - is: "What's in it for me?"

The first questions may not be of the stakeholder but of the project objective.

1) What is the impact of the project to this particular stakeholder?
2) What stakeholder problem with this project solve?
3) How much effort is required of the stakeholder to make the project successful?
4) What is the risk to the shareholder if the project fails?

You may find that the shareholder was not consulted on project needs and objectives and that they have no skin in the game.

After you've dome your homework re-word the questions in a meeting with the stakeholder.

1) What do you see as the impact of the project on you?
2) Will this project solve any of your current problem?
3) How much effort do you see necessary to make the project successful for you?
4) What is the risk to you if the project fails?
5) What can we do to better fit your needs?
One thing I have done for a situation like this is to force agreement on a project charter (including signoff by executive sponsors). Once they see something in writing and have to agree to it, that can change the participation level. But of course that will depend on who the resistant stakeholders are and why they are resistant. If they are reluctant because they feel the project will be a failure, then that needs to be addressed.

Having said that, your question is somewhat vague...
Are your stakeholders project team members? Or external stakeholders with no influence on the project?
What "goal" do you need to achieve by asking them questions? Buy-in, SME input, duration estimates, etc.?
Is there a RACI matrix for the project and where do they fit on the matrix?
Could you clarify their lack of engagement - Are they "playing games" like forgetting meetings? Refusing to communicate?

Some more information could help stimulate some better ideas to help your project.

-Bob C.
I recommend to have a 1:1 with them and try to understand why their resistance.

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