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Topics: Ethics and Organizational Culture, Stakeholder Management, Strategy
How do you handle protected stakeholders?
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It's always nice to deal with cooperative stakeholders that want the project to succeed as much as you do. But what about those really antagonistic, negative and non-cooperative stakeholders more senior than your sponsor who seem to be protected by the organization no matter how bad they behave, and no matter how much you try to build a relationship with them? How do you personally handle that situation?
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I had similar experience with stakeholders in the past, and I know it's not easy. Anyway I will try to understand their needs by talking to them, having coffee or lunch together and try to influence their behavior. I guess nobody want to spoil their meeting by saying that ¨I don´t have any idea about this project etc.¨, that normally creates bad vibes in the team meeting.
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1 reply by Sante Vergini
Mar 07, 2018 10:17 PM
Sante Vergini
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Yes Anish these activities can help sometimes. Other times, it doesn't and when there is not many senior people to go to, it can be frustrating.
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Sante -

Ideally we want all stakeholders to have a positive attitude towards our project but if that is impossible then we need to shift our approach to protecting the project from potential damage they can cause.

This is easier to do when the stakeholders are internal to the organization but very challenging when they are external.

To handle such risks, avoidance is often the best approach but that might radically change the scope or solution approach for the project...

Kiron
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1 reply by Sante Vergini
Mar 07, 2018 10:18 PM
Sante Vergini
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Krion, avoidance is a good option, as long as the stakeholder is benign and not trying to sabotage the project.
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Sante, if we ever could free the world from those .....then we would be living in a perfect world.
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1 reply by Sante Vergini
Mar 07, 2018 10:19 PM
Sante Vergini
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Very true Riyadh, and the question is how do we (you) deal with such situations when the stakeholder is a negative risk, they are basically untouchable, and we have tried everything to build a relationship with them ;-)
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I normally have them get engaged in the project as early as possible and keep managing them closely - From my experience, as time goes by, 95% of those negative stakeholders if managed properly, they will become either Neutral or Supportive.
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1 reply by Sante Vergini
Mar 07, 2018 10:20 PM
Sante Vergini
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Rami, early engagement is a good one, as it does mitigate the risk of nightmarish stakeholders infecting the project.
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Mar 07, 2018 4:44 PM
Replying to Anish Abraham
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I had similar experience with stakeholders in the past, and I know it's not easy. Anyway I will try to understand their needs by talking to them, having coffee or lunch together and try to influence their behavior. I guess nobody want to spoil their meeting by saying that ¨I don´t have any idea about this project etc.¨, that normally creates bad vibes in the team meeting.
Yes Anish these activities can help sometimes. Other times, it doesn't and when there is not many senior people to go to, it can be frustrating.
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1 reply by Anish Abraham
Mar 07, 2018 11:06 PM
Anish Abraham
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I hear you Sante, I still remember when a senior executive asked me to hold on to implement the project until a particular stakeholder retire from service.
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Mar 07, 2018 7:02 PM
Replying to Kiron Bondale
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Sante -

Ideally we want all stakeholders to have a positive attitude towards our project but if that is impossible then we need to shift our approach to protecting the project from potential damage they can cause.

This is easier to do when the stakeholders are internal to the organization but very challenging when they are external.

To handle such risks, avoidance is often the best approach but that might radically change the scope or solution approach for the project...

Kiron
Krion, avoidance is a good option, as long as the stakeholder is benign and not trying to sabotage the project.
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1 reply by Kiron Bondale
Mar 08, 2018 6:32 AM
Kiron Bondale
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Then I follow Patrick Swayze's line from Roadhouse - "Always be nice, until it's time to NOT be nice..."

Kiron
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Mar 07, 2018 8:07 PM
Replying to Riyadh Salih
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Sante, if we ever could free the world from those .....then we would be living in a perfect world.
Very true Riyadh, and the question is how do we (you) deal with such situations when the stakeholder is a negative risk, they are basically untouchable, and we have tried everything to build a relationship with them ;-)
Network:12220



Mar 07, 2018 8:25 PM
Replying to Rami Kaibni
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I normally have them get engaged in the project as early as possible and keep managing them closely - From my experience, as time goes by, 95% of those negative stakeholders if managed properly, they will become either Neutral or Supportive.
Rami, early engagement is a good one, as it does mitigate the risk of nightmarish stakeholders infecting the project.
...
1 reply by Rami Kaibni
Mar 08, 2018 3:09 AM
Rami Kaibni
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And sudden unexpected changes at a later stage.
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In such scenarios, apart from the risk of project failure, there is a risk of further financial implications in damage claims and loss of reputation and goodwill.

As Kiron says, the first step would be to protect the project. But I would also recommend collecting and consolidating all evidence of the project being on track (or, if not, the true reasons why the project is not on track).

Safeguarding the project, the organisation, and the project team should hold a high priority in such cases.

In short, such scenarios are a project risk that have to be accepted and have response strategies planned for.
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1 reply by Sante Vergini
Mar 08, 2018 5:00 PM
Sante Vergini
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Good points Karan, thanks.
Network:1457



Mar 07, 2018 10:17 PM
Replying to Sante Vergini
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Yes Anish these activities can help sometimes. Other times, it doesn't and when there is not many senior people to go to, it can be frustrating.
I hear you Sante, I still remember when a senior executive asked me to hold on to implement the project until a particular stakeholder retire from service.
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2 replies by Anish Abraham and Sante Vergini
Mar 07, 2018 11:17 PM
Sante Vergini
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wow, how long did you have to wait?
Mar 08, 2018 12:04 AM
Anish Abraham
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Almost 5 years
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