Getting sideswiped

Getting sideswiped

Have you ever diligently worked toward a change or something new for months and thought to yourself, ‘I am killing it’? You’ve tested, you’ve trained, and you’ve clearly communicated. Overall, you’ve checked all the boxes. Right before it’s time to release your goodness to the world, you’re on your last update call, and a still quiet voice asks one question…and, all of sudden you go from looking highly organized to disheveled.

“Did anyone talk to Marilyn in shipping about the process she uses to expedite freight to our largest customer?” You want to say, “Who the heck is Marilyn? This solution has nothing to do with logistics.” You sit quietly and say nothing and you hear… “Your changes are going to impact what she does.”

You get the information and reach out to Marilyn. You find out that yes, the procurement solution that you are changing will in fact leave Marilyn without a solution for the #1 customer. Oops. How did this happen?

Someway, somewhere, somehow you missed out on getting a clear understanding of the stakeholders for the project that you’re leading. What looked like a slam dunk now needs to be re-evaluated; scope needs to be reconsidered and budget and timing may have to change.

I like to think of this as being sideswiped. All of sudden, you are no longer on track. How do you prevent this from happening?

Spend time getting very clear on who your stakeholders are. Talk to them and determine the best way to engage, communicate, and train each group.

Once you come up with your documented view of your stakeholders, run it by several associates in different parts of the organization. For a large company, you’re always going to learn about something or someone that you didn’t consider.

Use the 7 categories of stakeholders to learn about arrangements and connections that you aren’t privy to:

  • Vendor/Supplier
  • Customer
  • Employees
  • Government
  • Community
  • Investors
  • Trade Associations/Unions

You can work with your stakeholders proactively or you can wait until later and work with them reactively. Choose wisely.

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