Developing Stakeholder Relationships for Effective Team Leadership | Alex Lyon | Skillshare

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Developing Stakeholder Relationships for Effective Team Leadership

teacher avatar Alex Lyon, Communication Professor

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

12 Lessons (1h 2m)
    • 1. Course Overview & Welcome

    • 2. How to Get the Most Out of this Class

    • 3. Stakeholder vs Stockholder & Internal vs External Stakeholders

    • 4. Primary and Secondary Stakeholders & Stakeholder Analysis

    • 5. Selecting Your "Dream Team"

    • 6. Developing Relationships Pre-Project

    • 7. Your Elevator Pitch Invitation

    • 8. Your Communication Plan

    • 9. Rewarding Your Stakeholders to Increase Participation

    • 10. Facilitating Stakeholder Discussions

    • 11. Pulling it All Together

    • 12. Wrap Up

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About This Class

This class teaches students how to identify key stakeholders, develop stakeholder relationships, create a plan for leading a team of multiple stakeholders to complete a project, and facilitating team discussions. 

The class is designed for professionals and emerging leaders who want to strengthen their team leadership skills by learning how to run a project that spans multiple teams and departments. 

No specific prior knowledge is required. However, the class is built on the assumption that students have an actual upcoming or current project to which they can apply the course lessons.

The skills learned in the class can be used to improve stakeholder participation on a small existing team all the way up to managing large, ongoing projects. 

Note: This class does not teach general stakeholder "engagement" tactics, which is often aligned with marketing and ultimately doing more business with clients. While that topic is clearly an important one, this class does not take that approach. In contrast, the class is essentially about developing critical relationships and leading a team of stakeholders on a project.

Meet Your Teacher

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Alex Lyon

Communication Professor


Hello there, friend. I make courses to help emerging leaders build their communication skills. I believe that good leadership and communication change lives. I formed this belief when I was young. My first few bosses made a big impact on me. Some of my supervisors were excellent but others had weak leadership skills that made everything worse. Now that I am a leader and supervisor myself, I want to help as many new leaders as possible increase their impact so they can lead their teams with excellence.

I've been teaching college full-time, and consulting and speaking for over 15 years. I published my first book in 2016. 

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1. Course Overview & Welcome : today, expertise is sliced very thin. If you want to get anything significant done, you can't do it alone. As an old African saying goes, If you want to go fast, run alone. If you want to go far, run together. And that spirit. This class teaches you how to develop stakeholder relationships so you can lead your team more effectively. The term stakeholder has become an overused buzzword. So let me clarify this courses for individuals who want to enhance their leadership skills , especially by leading a diverse team of interested people on a specific project. So you learn how to identify key stakeholders, develop a plan for maximizing their participation and learn to facilitate group discussions on the stakeholder team in ways that strengthen those relationships. If you want to get good at leading groups and teams, this class will help. So who is the class? Not for while this class is not simply about quote, engaging stakeholders. That's a related topic that might mean marketing or staying in contact with external clients so you can do more business with them. And yes, that's important. But you won't learn anything about that in this class. I built this class. Assuming you have a leadership position, an ambitious project coming up and that project is going to involve an expanded team of internal and external stakeholders, the class will help you lead that team of stakeholders more effectively than the benefits of this approach for your team or more. Buy in and ownership higher morale. Better problem solving. As an individual, you'll gain a broader strategic look at the overall business. You'll accumulate more social capital by working across functions and earn a reputation as a leader who is good with groups and knows how to drive projects. The first part of the class lace um, groundwork about how to pick a suitable project. Identify the right stakeholders next to learn how to develop those stakeholder relationships and keep the project on track. The class concludes by making a stakeholder development plan for an upcoming team project that you have in terms of my background. I'm a college professor. I wrote a book on communication, leadership and collaboration. I've been working with name brand clients for over 15 years. I also have a variety of other courses and a successful YouTube channel. My approach combines all of that by grounding this class in good research and making the lessons as practical as possible. So if this sounds like a good fit, the first lesson explains in concrete terms how to get the most out of this class and gives a preview of your class project. I hope to see you in that lesson. 2. How to Get the Most Out of this Class: let's talk about how to get the most out of this class in three ways. First, pick a riel work project that you will be leading that is coming up soon, and I would like you to identify that project in this lesson should be a project that will involve an expanded team beyond your department. And the reason is this class is structured so that ideally, you will identify that team project by the end of this lesson. And as the class moves forward, you create a plan to bring together those specific stakeholders, developed those relationships and get the maximum participation possible from those stakeholders. Now there's also a little class project at the end of the course that is very simple. So at the end, I recommend you fill out a stakeholder development worksheet that I have created that work . She will help you boil down some of the key takeaways and be a road map for the first few steps that you can take after the class. So to get the most out of this, it's best that you have some riel team oriented work in mind. While going through this second, I'd like you to give some thought to your basic leadership philosophy at the foundation are typically one of two fundamental mindsets we have at work an adversarial mindset or a collaborative mindset. Here. Some clues about your mindset. If you have an adversarial mindset, you might do things like mentally separate groups in your organization into friends or foes . Those who are with us or against us. You might even have a little list like that in your head. This is classic us versus them, thinking where you see some other teams as competitors for resource is or attention those air indications oven adversarial mindset. In contrast, if you have a collaborative mindset than you think in terms of working with others as genuine partners, you have a two. Heads are better than one approach. You ask yourself, Who else should we include in this discussion to make sure we do it well, A collaborative mindset is virtually a pre requisite for working well with stakeholders. So whether you're in a large corporation or a small business, we now live in a networked society, and collaboration is key. So if you already have a collaborative leadership philosophy than you are ahead. If, however, your adversarial competitive nature gets the best of you sometime, you'll have to redefine how you look at your team and expand your view to include any and all stakeholders that you'll be working with. The bottom line is, if that your stakeholders don't get the genuine sense that you were on their side, it we very difficult to develop those relationships and maintain credibility as a leader. So take a close look at your mindset. Third, do you see yourself mainly as a manager or as a leader, and you'll certainly need to be both, So it's important to evaluate your area of strength and weakness. So in terms of management, you'll be managing the overall flow and progress of the project. You be coordinating deadlines and making sure the right resource is are in place and all the right boxes have been checked. There's a lot of moving parts to large projects, and strong managerial skills are critical in this way, and you may or may not be able to delegate some of those tasks. But managerial or administrative skills are only half of the story. When you're working with an extended team of stakeholders, you will not likely have any supervisory authority over many of the individuals on your team, and so that means you'll be in charge of the project. But you will very likely not be in charge of most of the people. So when it comes to leadership, your ability to drive the project won't come mainly from your official leadership authority . It will come from your ability to motivate and to inspire. Those are things you can not delegate. You be tapping into your communication skills, your ability to influence and connect and build strong working relationships. So do you see yourself as a mainly a manager or a leader? So keep this in mind, because we'll be doing a bit of both in this class, And some skills may be more intuitive as we move forward. The application for the lesson is three simple questions. First, what project will you identify that you can use in this class? That's the key question for this lesson, and the more specific, the better. The next two questions are more reflective and food for thought, you might say to help you get the most out of a class. So second, what is at the foundation of your leadership philosophy. Do you lean toward an adversarial or a collaborative mindset at work? If you think you are overly competitive in that approach, may get in the way of working with stakeholders. What adjustments can you make to your thinking? And, third, do you see yourself mainly as a manager or leader? What area needs the most development? Answer these three questions and you'll be ready for the next lesson. It looks at the types of stakeholders that you should keep in mind for your team. 3. Stakeholder vs Stockholder & Internal vs External Stakeholders: in this lesson. We look at the key differences between stakeholder and stockholder and explain the foundation of stakeholder theory and why it's so different from the old fashioned ways of looking at leadership. So first, let's define stockholder. That's any individual who has a vested interest in the financial success of an organization . These are literal stockholders, shareholders, financial investors who put money in and want a return on that investment. Traditionally, the old way of thinking was that decisions had to be made for the stockholders to make them happy in both the short run and the long run. Rob Almora, crisis communication expert, says that nowadays, if organizations want to be successful, they need to look beyond just their shareholders and expand their view of critical relationships. Clearly, this term stakeholder is a play on stockholder that acknowledges there other types of interested parties and critical relationships that matter. A stakeholder is anyone with an interest in the overall success of an organization. It's any group or individual who has a stake in or will be influenced by important decisions. Our Edward Freeman first articulated stakeholder theory a few decades ago. He pulled this all together to explain that to be successful, an organization has to provide value to all stakeholders, all the relevant groups who help determine the success or failure off the organization. In other words, there has to be a mutually beneficial exchange of value between and among the organizations , key internal and external stakeholders for your project. This explanation should help you think about all the ways that your interconnected groups and teams are involved in the work together as a big team. So taking a stakeholder perspective and largest the list of who matters and whose interest we should keep in mind. As we make those key decisions, I'll give you some categories for the types of stakeholders we usually consider when forming our team, and we'll start with all of the internal stakeholders and one group. We have the investors internally. This usually means the owners, the big investors, because they influence key decisions. Next, we usually put the executives and managers and administrators together. They're making decisions for the organization. The next group of internal stakeholders consists of employees, team members and other non managerial individuals. This group makes up the vast majority of the organization's members. We also have external stakeholders such as silent investors and smaller shareholders who don't weigh in on organisational decisions. We have partner organizations, suppliers, vendors, clients and customers, and the local host community where the organization lives is an external stakeholder. So is the larger industry the organization is a part of, and any accrediting agencies that oversee an industry. The local or national media is a stakeholder if the organization has any kind of public face and of course, the local, state and national governments which influence virtually all organizations in some way because they make laws, collect taxes and so forth. Now this is a huge list, but don't feel overwhelmed because very few projects will involve all of these stakeholders and a hands on way. Thankfully, as a team leader of stakeholders, you'll see that you will rarely be dealing with all of the potential stakeholders like this . This is just a list of possible or hypothetical stakeholders, depending upon your project. The key idea is that leading a team off stakeholders really means leading a very diverse team, a collection of individuals and groups who all have their own set of interests and priorities. As the team leader, this stakeholder way of thinking will help you play a bigger, more influential game by seeing yourself as a leader of an expanded team of contributors. So those are some key explanations for the class, and the next lesson will identify a list of your primary and secondary stakeholders for your upcoming project. 4. Primary and Secondary Stakeholders & Stakeholder Analysis: in the last lesson, we looked at all of your possible internal and external stakeholders for any given hypothetical project. In practice, you cannot end should not include all stakeholders all of the time. You'll be wasting a lot of time, and this lesson will help you prioritize your key stakeholders. We'll look at some criteria and make a list of your primary and secondary stakeholders. I will also illustrate what I mean with a real life example that will be like a quick stakeholder analysis. I'll be using my example of a nonprofit I'm involved in that does music related programs and performances. So my project will be a concert first. To prioritize, your stakeholders will use four criteria to make sure we have the right group of people. Authors like Stand eats, Strauss, Salukis and sweet. All right about this. Think of your project. While we look at these criteria, the key stakeholders should include the following one those with the formal power to make decisions too those with the power to block decisions. Three. Those influenced by the project or decisions. This will be a huge group, by the way, the most diverse group and four those with relevant information or expertise. Now let's turn to direct application for your project. We're going to take these four criteria and make sure we develop a list and rank our primary and secondary stakeholders are primary stakeholders will form our core group there those individuals and groups who need to be involved from the beginning to the end, or at least a meaningful chunk of that time. Secondary stakeholders are those who can be brought in to play supporting roles at various points along the way and feel free to pause the video to make sure that your list of stakeholders is filled out as we go. So looking at our four criteria first, who are the key players who have the formal power to make decisions, thes air likely to be the leaders directly above you and maybe leaders from other parts of the organization. So list the key decision makers who you need on board and if you know their name right there. Name for the concert I mentioned the four key decision makers were the headlining act and his band, the person running the budget and writing the checks for the whole event. The manager of the concert hall and the fundraiser who is lining up key sponsors. Thes were all primary stakeholders in this category, and if any one of these parties weren't on board, then we couldn't really move forward. We didn't have any secondary stakeholders in this category, so go ahead and list years now. Next, who are the individuals or groups that could block decisions or even slow you down considerably? They may not be your boss, but they have enough authority to jam you up somehow. Maybe it's an administrator who is known to be difficult. Well, if they were in the loop from the beginning, then there are much likely to be more supportive. So this anybody who fits this description as a primary stakeholder for our concert? We did not have any primary stakeholders in this group. The one secondary stakeholder who could have jammed us up was the fire marshal, So we were expecting a packed crowd of 700 people, and he had the power to shut us down if we broke those rules. Now I'm putting the fire Marshal, though as a secondary stakeholder because he had worked at the theatre many times and we knew ahead of time. How to follow those rules? So go ahead and list any of your primary or secondary stakeholders in this category. Third, who would likely be influenced by this decision or the work of the project? This will be the most diverse and largest group. Each person who is directly involved and influenced will provide valuable input. So who is paying for this and who's doing the actual work? And you don't need every employee at the table, for example. But you have to have good front line employee representation so that they can gauge how helpful decisions or directions. Maybe employees have a grasp on the practical realities of implementing the work. Next, you probably want to get your key clients at the table somehow, whether they are internal or external clients. And if aspects of the project are not adding value to them, they need to be in the loop so they can let you know for our concert. Our primary stakeholders in this group, where the sponsors and donors who put up money for the event we had an audio and video crew working and a house manager who ran the theater. Each of these stakeholders played a key role leading up to the event and also the entire day of the event. We also had secondary stakeholders like the volunteers who seated people or ran errands or sold CDs. We had theatre employees who took tickets and sold refreshments. We had outside suppliers like the catering company that T shirt manufacturer, a printer for the flyers. In the banners. The's secondary stakeholders were important, but they had a more limited role. So now you should list all of your primary and secondary stakeholders for this category and forth. What experts should you bring in? Keep in mind, these individuals might actually already work somewhere in your organization for our concert. This group was very small. So before the concert was scheduled, the headlining act talked to a few other musicians to get recommendations about the best places to host the concert. But that was it. So for us, we just had secondary stakeholders here because their involvement was limited. But your experts may play a larger role, so lists any experts for your project and label them as either primary or secondary. Aside from these four criteria, there may be other secondary stakeholders in our case, we coordinated with some local print media and local radio stations to promote the event. The headlining act also connected with a collection of long term supporters and V. I. P. S. To help get them great seats ahead of time and organize a private reception, The's V. I. P's represented the client's point of view. So who are your other secondary stakeholders who you should involve that don't necessarily come to mind when you look at our four criteria. And if you're wondering how the concert went, it was a huge success, and I credit all of that to the stakeholder team approached that the top leaders took. So let's talk more about application. If you pause the video as you went at this point, you may already have a rough draft of your primary and secondary stakeholders. If you haven't done that yet, then you can do it now and clearly you will often have even more specific choices about the individuals who will play the stakeholder roles on the team in the next video. When you have a choice, we'll look at how to select the best individuals to build a great team 5. Selecting Your "Dream Team": your decisions about who you hire are some of the most important decisions you will ever make in this class. That means who you select for your team. In the last lesson, we looked at your list of potential primary and secondary stakeholders. In this lesson. We're going to begin identifying specific individuals to fill those roles. And here's why this is so important. Great people want to work with other great people. You want to put together a dream team if you pick somebody who's not up to the task. For whatever reason, it can really spoil the mood and the motivation for the entire project. Now, in some cases, there only be one person who can do a job. If your direct supervisor is a primary stakeholder, then he or she is an automatic member of the team and maybe that many of the stakeholders are already locked in. But in other instances you may have choices. For example, you may be able to select the outside expert you bring in or the specific employees level team members you invite anywhere you have a choice. You want to make the best choice possible, so keep in mind that we're not approaching these individuals just yet. We're just making a list of names. So here are four criteria for selecting the best people, and I've assembled this list of criteria based upon both practical experience hiring people and what numerous authors have recommended. Especially authors like Patrick Lynch Cioni, who wrote The Ideal team player and Alan Whiner on his chapter on the dimensions of credibility in his book. So Smart. But so I don't think there's anything surprising on this list of criteria, but it's important to look at each potential team member with your eyes open and consider how they might mesh with the rest of the team. First, select people who are competence. Some individuals might be really good at some specific area, but they may not necessarily have the right competence for your particular project that you'll be working on. So you want to pick people who can add real value to your project. Second, select people who are trustworthy. You have probably seen over the years many organizations who have somebody working there, and everybody knows that that person is unreliable in some way. While on a team project you need people you can count on not people who you have to make excuses for so select, trustworthy, credible individuals. Third, select individuals with good people skills. Some people are really experts, but they may not work well with others. So pick people who get along well, know how to interact and communicate, are likeable enough and have low maintenance personalities. Team projects involve a lot of collaboration, and this amplifies the importance of people skills, so don't select people who attract drama and conflict and unnecessary friction. Fourth, select good team players, and this can mean a lot of different things to different people. But pick people who are ready to work hard and are prepared and don't need a lot of close supervision or constant reminders. Reminders. You want people who take initiative and who work above and beyond to do. They report. You can't have people who are waiting for other team members to do the heavy lifting. You want people who can pull their weight in a group setting. So the application for this lesson is really simple. With these four tips in mind, look at your list of stakeholders and anywhere you have a choice about who to invite right , a specific name for your top choice. So we're trying to build a dream team of the best players for your project. As I said, great people want to work with great people, and the next lesson will look at ways you can begin to build those relationships with these potential stakeholders even before your project starts. 6. Developing Relationships Pre-Project: in this lesson will talk about how you can develop stakeholder relationships pre project before your project actually starts as mentioned, Some stakeholders will automatically be on your team because of the nature of the project. But it will likely be your job to recruit people to fill out the rest of your team. So, to use a metaphor, this is a little like getting geared up to ask somebody out on a date. You don't want to go cold calling to make that invite. You want to build up to that invite so you set yourself up for success. Stakeholder relationships are relationships, and you have to start building them somewhere. When you ask somebody to join your big project, you want them to be excited to get on board, and the key to that is toe already have a relationship history together. So the key point of this lesson is to begin developing stakeholder relationships early. Before you even have a confirmed project, Perhaps, and here are three steps to do that. Number one. Be a talent scout. You want to always be on the lookout for both experienced individuals and up and comers who you could add to your team. Maybe you already have them on your Dream team list. But the's may also be just awesome people you've noticed that you want to invite on a future project. For example, I've known I wanted to hire a video editor for a couple of years, but I wasn't ready to make that move yet. But any time I would talk to other creators who make courses, I'd ask them, How did you find your editor? And who do you have? That helps you out? And then I started looking at some specific editors. I was scouting for talent before I even invited them. This is the way leaders think they're always on the lookout for talent. Way ahead of time. Number two. Develop one on one relationships with each potential team member. Start small like make a little investment, like asked them for some quick advice or offered to help them with something. Do some small, short term, work related tasks together. Now a lot of people might say, Yeah, I take them out for coffee. But coffee dates frequently get canceled. But even a small work related tasks, like a 10 minute conversation working on a PowerPoint deck is more likely to stay on the calendar. Thes small work related tasks are the best way to develop working relationships, and working well with somebody on a small project is probably the number one way to set yourself up to work on a large project together number three. This is an extension of the previous tip. Look for ways you can add value to those relationships long before you ask for something so good. Healthy stakeholder relationships are based upon the mutual exchange of value, so look for ways toe. Add value to members of your hypothetical of dream team as soon as possible. You could make a call for them to connect them to somebody important, or let them know about some resource is that might help. You can send them some valuable information as a follow up to a conversation. Look for ways to save them time, money or aggravation. And don't ask for anything in return. Just make a deposit in that relationship account. Remember, when you invite them to join your team, make sure you have established a relationship so you're not making a cold call. Let's turn toe application. Start thinking like a talent scout and answer these two questions. First, who are one or two specific people on your Dream Team lists who you can start building a working relationship with. And next, what is one small way you can work together? Or one way you can add value for them? Answer those two questions. And in the next lesson, we'll look at how to create your elevator pitch to invite them to consider your project. 7. Your Elevator Pitch Invitation: in this lesson will look at a very simple framework for starting a one on one conversation with a potential stakeholder about your project. This will be especially helpful for potential stakeholders who aren't yet familiar with what you're up to, and we'll call this an elevator pitch. But we're not selling anything. The point of a good elevator pitch is to start an important conversation in a clear and concise way to see if the other person is interested in talking about it more. Think of this as the first of possibly many conversations with a potential stakeholder. The simplest elevator pitch I know has just four points. Hook Problem solution Invitation. I didn't invent these points. It's a simple, persuasive structure, but I do use this framework with clients, and the points are a way to structure your ideas so that your message is helpful for your listeners. I recommend aiming for about one sentence for each of these four talking points. It's a four sentence message. You can use thes four talking points face to face or over email or any message to get a conversation started from my illustration. I'll pretend I'm inviting you to join my stakeholder team. In real life, I teach college, so I'll pretend that you also work on campus somewhere your name will be Chris on. The issue I will be talking about is the gap of real world experience that many college graduates have by the time they get their degree. Now this is just an illustration. So some of this is made up. Don't quote me first. The hook is the very first thing out of your mouth and should help get your listeners attention. But it doesn't have to be anything special. It doesn't have to knock them off their feet. It just has to give them an idea of where you're headed in the conversation. So here's my hook. Hey, Chris. As you probably heard, the college is looking for ways to get our students more practical experience before they graduate. See, there's nothing special about this sentence. You're just giving them some contexts for the issue that you're talking about. The second talking point explains the problem. More specifically, the problem is, almost 20% of our graduates have never had an actual job. If you don't count things like baby sitting or mowing their neighbor's lawn. So here I'm just crystallizing the problem. Boiling it down. The third talking point explains your solution. Now they're all sorts of pitches you might make. But because we're talking about forming a stakeholder team, you're going to tell them about the team project that you are leading. I've been asked by the college to put together a team to help create more paid internships close to campus. You'll notice I'm trying to talk in plain language. We want to create mawr paid internships. I'm not using fancy language. I'm also not going into all of the details just yet. We're just starting. Ah, conversation. The fourth point is the invitation. Some people call this the ask, but it's the same thing. It's where you invite them or show them that the door is open for their participation. I might say to you, Does this sound like something you'd like to be a part of? Or I might say, Would you have any interest in that? You notice I'm not really trying to close the deal. I'm just gauging your level of interest, so you should not have to pressure people to join the effort. If you have to really push them into it. They're not likely to stay engaged over the long run. So just put a little invitation out there and let the conversation flow naturally together . This is just four sentences, So why so sure? Well, most people struggle, expressing themselves clearly and concisely, and listeners do not want to hear you ramble. So practice honing it down to four sentences that you can always add detail to later, if your conversations more relaxed or if the potential stakeholder already knows a bit about what you're working on. Your application for this lesson is to spend four minutes drafting a four sentence elevator . Pitch around your talking points hook Problem solution. Invitation drafted out and practice it a couple of times to make sure it's concise and conversational. A little practice will help you clarify your thinking and help you prepare to approach your potential stakeholders with confidence. 8. Your Communication Plan: this lesson shows you how to lead the overall communication process for the team, and at the end, your application will be to create a sketch of the first key step of this communication plan will look at four major steps and, as always, keep your project in mind as we walk through these first plan your kickoff. Even now, the best Kickoffs have a few qualities in common, their face to face. There's a clear vision, and each person understands their role. So in my experience, the best Kickoffs are face to face whenever possible. Now granted, it's not always possible these days, but when it is face to face, communication is far more memorable. It makes the beginning of a project feel official and solidifies stakeholder relationships . Research shows that face to face communication is usually more persuasive to so this is your best chance to add a little fanfare, a little showmanship to make the moment memorable. Great Kickoffs also explained the vision, the goals and the purpose that your project is trying to accomplish really clearly. So you want to explain why you're all there and what you're trying to accomplish together in a compelling way. now typically the secret ingredient to a successful kick office to clearly articulate the role that each individual stakeholder role play on the team. Now, I'm not talking about a job title or what department people are from. This should be team and project specific. So I recommend you prepare everybody in advance so they come ready to explain the specific role they will play on the team. You don't want people wondering why they're there. If they know how to make an impact, they'll be ready to jump in and add value right away. Second, create a road map for the project. Ah, great way to do this is to create a visual map or representation of the major steps involved in the process. You've probably seen diagrams or flow charts like this, but keep it simple. I recommend starting by showing the major steps along the way. You don't have to make it overly detailed like a user's manual. People just need to see where the major points are, And once you have those milestones mapped out, you as the leader will have to negotiate and agree on the specific dates and deliver a bles with your stakeholders to remember. It's a collaboration and a partnership, and a key part of that road map will be how regularly you meet. So map out the cadence of your group, meetings your 1 to 1 meetings and get that all on the counter in advance so everybody's activities are coordinated. It roadmap with clear milestones and dates along the way, will help you keep your project on track and show your progress. Third, plan to facilitate discussions Most of the time. You don't want to be top down with stakeholders Now. On the one hand, you're still going to have to have a clear vision and communicate goals and milestones and deadlines. You do have to maintain clear messaging throughout the process, but to balance that out work mostly on facilitation skills when you're meeting 1 to 1 and in group. So it's important to prioritize stakeholder participation in the discussion strife for genuine dialogue. The more they are contributing to the discussion, the more buy in and commitment they will show. So lead each meeting with a list of important questions and other ways to inspire that dialogue. And as part of that dialogue, it's important that you as the leader seek regular feedback. So as a leader, you need good up to date intel about how things were going and what adjustments need to be made. And don't make the mistake of simply saying, Let me know if you need anything that still pushes the responsibility onto the team. Ask your stakeholders directly for feedback so you can listen carefully and take action to fix any emerging issues. Fourth, plan to give regular updates to the team. This is important because one of the main complaints professionals have is that there's a lack of big picture information from top leaders. So as the leader, you want to communicate the best information you have on an ongoing basis. Maybe it's weekly updates, for instance, but don't assume an email is going to do it. I was reading online the other day that you're lucky if 65% of employees open any given email and only 15% engage that content in any way by clicking on it or answering a question . So the point is, as a leader, you have to over communicate. So send a helpful email, but also meet 1 to 1, have group meetings, talk to people in the hallway. Use all of it. Uses many channels as possible to stay connected with your stakeholders, and these messages should be about any progress or updates or new development. And be sure to communicate and celebrate any successes. You want to get lots of positive reinforcement for any progress. Let's turn to application. We're going to start with the first main step of your communication plan, your kickoff events, so feel free to dream a little here. Imagine what the best possible kickoff event would look like. Don't be limited by these three recommendations, but include at least these number one. Make it face to face, if possible. Where could you hold this first meeting? Is there some location that would inspire your stakeholders? How could you add some fun? Some showmanship to make it memorable? Can you integrate music or food or engaging images on the screen? What are some ways you can keep it interactive, so it's not just a speech. Number two. How can you explain your vision for the project in a clear and compelling way? What can you do to make that vision stick? Can you make something like a small give away that stakeholders can take with them as a reminder. Think of anything that you can do to enhance the clarity impact in memorability of your vision. Number three. How can you make sure every stakeholder sees his or her role clearly? So you have to get clear on this yourself. But also make sure you prepare your stakeholders ahead of the kickoff event so they can show up already understanding exactly how they fit in. Now there's more to a complete communication plan than the kickoff. We also talked about creating a visual road map, planning to facilitate conversations and preparing to send regular progress updates. But there's nothing like a great kickoff event to get your stakeholders excited. So dream a little, get creative and make a sketch of what an ideal kickoff event would look like for your team project. 9. Rewarding Your Stakeholders to Increase Participation: this lesson shows you how you can reward stakeholders throughout your project. I'm using the term reward a little loosely. As you'll see there are two basic beliefs behind this lesson. One is that as human beings, we want to be involved in rewarding experiences. If it experiences high cost but low reward, you're not gonna want to even show up. The second premise is that the best stakeholder relationships are based upon the mutual exchange of value, those relationships self perpetuate. So your stakeholders have to get something out of the experience if you want their full participation, so make sure they benefit. And that's what this lesson is about. I'm going to give you some ideas for what I will call rewards. Loosely speaking that almost everybody finds valuable. I'll mention four categories to help get you thinking, but this is only limited by your imagination. First, social rewards essentially look for ways you can help each of your stakeholders connect and build relationships. Don't encourage them to work in isolation. Make sure they're connecting. This should mean a positive, supportive relationship with you. It could mean more access to you or mentoring from you. It can be the opportunity to work with other great people. I mentioned this in an earlier lesson. Great people wanna work with other great people. People also benefit from expanding their network, our relationships on projects and even exposure to other leaders. So you can talk team members up in front of others and meaningful ways and give them genuine praise to help elevate their profile. Show them that they have your respect in your esteem. Be an advocate for them. You can facilitate all of this by introducing them to keep people talking them up and giving them opportunities to build those relationships. So social wars like this are incredibly valuable. Next, our intellectual rewards working the team almost always provides natural opportunities to learn new skills and grow as professional. So yes, of course, there's some toe shortage of mundane tasks that need to be done. And that's why it's all the more important to make sure your stakeholders stretch a bit outside of their own area of expertise and they learn something new. So if you have a large team, you might want to form subgroups with complementary areas of expertise so team members can work alongside each other and learn. Also, there are specific training opportunities that may be out there that you can connect your stakeholders with so they can enhance their skills. So make sure your up and coming team members get to collaborate with maybe more experience team members. So one guy I know said that cool projects, for example, are probably the number one way you could reward somebody at work. So look for those. Be sure to provide intellectual rewards to keep your stakeholders motivated. Third, our cultural rewards and I mean this in a specific way. So working in a stakeholder team will expose members to other parts of the business or industry. Other cultural context. And this is especially true for emerging leaders. In other words, it can help them get out of their professional subculture for a while and learn new ways to look at things and self problems. This will expose them to other professional cultural context. Other norms, like when you're a kid and started visiting other families homes, you can learn a lot about your own family because you see those differences and similarities in the same way you can encourage your stakeholders to get out of their normal cultural context and get those valuable learning experiences. So hold work meetings and other parts of the organization. It might be helpful for certain team members to work with other stakeholders in another location for a whole day or even a week. It's like a study abroad experience. They'll grow MAWR that way than if they had stayed home that semester. So look for various ways to expose stakeholders, especially your emerging leaders, to new parts of the project, the business or the industry. Think of any other relevant cultural context in your broader professional setting that would help stakeholders grow and get inspired. Lastly, material rewards. And you may not be able to give people financial bonuses, but everybody likes even a small symbolic gift of appreciation and think creatively about other material rewards. Can you connect some stakeholders to re sources that you know are available? Can you loan them some valuable equipment that might just be sitting around anyway? There might be other creative ways to share resource is or save money that would make a difference to them. Now let's do some application thes rewards air only limited by your imagination and this list is just meant to get you thinking and inspire you. So one tip is to think about each person as an individual. I don't think in terms of rewarding the team collectively, we like individual rewards. And if you have 10 people on your team, make sure you provide each of them with something that they find valuable. So the specific application is what I call a Christmas shopping lists. You are Santa Claus. Make a list of all your primary stakeholders and start by writing one way you can add value to their professional lives. What is one contribution or reward you can help them with either socially and actually culturally or materially, that they would find valuable. And they're each doing their part. So what can you give them back? So, like Santa Claus, go ahead, make a shopping list, check it twice and write down one potentially rewarding thing or experience that you can provide each person on your list. 10. Facilitating Stakeholder Discussions: This lesson shows you how to facilitate a collaborative discussion with your stakeholder group to make the highest quality decisions possible. Whether your project is two weeks or two years long, you will face problems that need solutions. You will need to innovate and find a way forward around stubborn obstacles and make better , more creative decisions. And when that happens, it's best to use the power of the team. Teams almost always come up with better solutions than any individual could come up with on his or her own. Those new and improved outcomes, however, usually depend upon the process the way you as the leader facilitate those discussions. So the main part of this lesson consists of four good team discussion principles. But before we get to those four tips, let me tell you what you do not want to do in discussions. Don't let the boss or the high status people talk first. If you do that, the rest of the group will almost instantly just follow along with those ideas and you defeated the whole purpose of team participation. You've probably seen this happen. Similarly, as the group leader, you should not show up with predetermined ideas that you secretly try to push the groove into. You're there mainly to facilitate the discussion and trust the team process another warning . Make sure that you provide each and every group member regardless of status. Numerous opportunities to be heard and add value to the discussion. You want maximum participation, not just their attendance. You want genuine participation and full engagement. That's how great problem solving and innovation happens. Now let's turn to the four tips to make sure you lied great discussions and make high quality decisions. And I'm going to give you ideals to shoot for. In practice, that may not always be possible, but aim high like this. Every time These four principles all overlap each other and reinforce each other, they're not so much a steps as they are collection of best practices. First, you're a team. Decision making and problem solving meetings should include all of your primary stakeholders whenever possible. This will look very much like an expanded cross functional team. When you have multiple eyes on a situation, each point of view adds value. Their group can then collectively understand issues your team faces in a more complete and helpful way so you have to be door insure that the client's perspective is represented. The investor's point of view is represented, the employees point of view and any managers involved. It has to be a genuine cross section of all your primary stakeholders, and, as mentioned, your secondary stakeholders will not be involved throughout the entire project. But you can also include them in big decisions as much as you need them, especially any outside experts. Second, you have to do everything you can to encourage each individual stakeholder to speak in his or her own voice. You're there to think like a team leader, and in the same way they air their to think like themselves. It is not possible for you to look at an issue from all angles. That's not your job. You have to facilitate the overall process. So if there's an engineer on the team there there in part to offer their view as an engineer, if you have a person from marketing there there in part to speak about marketing concerns and so forth, encourage them to speak in their own voice. And this is one of the key principles of the multiple stakeholder model of decision making . A well known writer, professor and consultant stand Dietz wrote about this in his book, Transforming Communication. Transforming Business. The main value each stakeholder brings to the conversation is their unique voice. Their perspective. The reason this is so important is that groups will often quickly drift toward conformity. And people just start going with the flow, usually of the dominant voices, the high status people. And that's why I emphasized this so much that each individual stakeholder has to understand his or her role and the unique value they bring to the project. You have to encourage them to continue to speak and their own voice. Third established, um, group discussion rules that equalize any power differences. So when a frontline employees speaks, people need to hear that person's contribution and respect it just as much as an executive's point of view. Otherwise, as soon as the big boss talks, everybody will say to themselves, Well, that's what the boss wants. So I'll just go along to get along. And as the discussion leader, you have to establish ground rules for discussion that set norms so that all voices, regardless of status, get hurt. There's an organization. That's probably better at this than any other. IDEO is the world's most successful and influential product design company. They say directly that you have to hire people who are willing to disagree with the boss. Ideo lives by the principle that it's impossible that the boss is the only one that will have the insightful idea. So as the team leader, you should provide a few basic rules to set the tone. But you should also lead a discussion where group members also help establish the crown rules that the group will follow when discussing issues and making decisions, especially when it comes to making sure everybody gets to speak freely. Each stakeholder has toe have the opportunity to be heard in ways that set assign power differences as much as possible. And clearly you have to get the high status people onboard beforehand so they understand your approach and why you're doing that. And number four is related. Strive for consensus based decisions. But clearly only after you had some healthy discussion and respectful creative friction, thes air, big decisions and innovative solutions should not be top down. Use the power of the team to its fullest these conversations are supposed to get a little messy before they smooth out. Expect that almost every research study out there on group problem solving and decision making shows that if you're doing things right, you're gonna have some creative friction and a little conflict to get all of the concerns on the table. And once you've done that and address those concerns, then you can begin to move forward. So don't push for hyper consensus and avoid conflict and jump too quickly to solutions without looking at issues carefully, that will usually backfire. And that's why I recommend following the classic problem solving steps. Thes steps, by the way, are very close to what the product design firm IDEO uses. McKinsey Consulting uses them. Other high performance organizations uses similar approach. Essentially the elite problem solving professionals. Use some version of these steps, and I'll keep it simple for the sake of time. But you can and should frame discussions around this structure when you're trying to make any improvement or develop any new course of action. Number one defined and analyze the problem clearly to develop possible solutions, usually through good brainstorming until all of the possible solutions air on the table and even some strange ideas. Three. Select the best solution. This is usually done by taking ah few pieces of the top ideas and combining them into an even better solution than any individual had come up with. And that's the real power of getting a multiple stakeholder group. Together, they will come up with higher quality decisions that lead to much better outcomes than anybody alone could have come up with. Ideally, choosing a solution. A pathway forward would be done by reaching consensus rather than voting. If the path forward is not helping some of your stakeholders, at least get it some of what they want, then you probably don't have a good solution yet, so you want to be sure you're really ready for the final step. Four. Implementing the solution. Putting it into practice, which also should allow for some revision to the plan to make sure you can make any needed adjustments early on. So following these problem solving steps will help the group get any issues on the table early and then move toward consensus based solutions. Taken together, the four principles and this lesson will lead to your stakeholder team, creating more high quality decisions than anybody could possibly come up with on their own . So take full advantage of the power of the team. Let's turn to application. This whole application step will take you five minutes, and I'd like you to personally do a mini version of the four steps in the classic problem solving model to approach some small issue that you have that you might face. So just do this alone to get practice and pick something small. So for me, I might pick the issue of how I have not been able to get enough hours of sleep lately. Pick an issue you have control over personally and then walk through the four steps with a pen and paper. Number one. Identify and analyse that problem in more detail. So what are the causes contributing to that problem? Get specific to brainstorm possible solutions for around a minute, just right out any possible solutions that you can think of, even if they seem weird. Three. Select the best solution you have. That may involve combining a few ideas and for if you like, implement a solution, So take about five minutes. Go through this problem solving process that now the key is just to get some practice walking through the steps. It's an exercise, and going through a mini version of this four step process privately will help you lead a group through these four steps down the road. 11. Pulling it All Together: this lesson is all application. The goal is to help you take the 1st 5 steps on your stakeholder team project, so I'm going to recommend that you do the final project for the class. It's super simple. I mentioned it at the beginning of the class. It's a worksheet with some basic questions. Think of this work she as your first draft of a plan for your stakeholder project, and I'm going to assume that you're starting at the beginning. So, first, if you have not artery already done this earlier in the course right out in just a sentence or two. What you're stakeholder team project is what are you trying to accomplish? I recommend doing this and really plain language. Don't make it sound too fancy. Just use everyday language that even a friend outside of work would be able to follow. That way, all of your stakeholders will instantly grasped what you are trying to do, regardless of their area of expertise. Second, make a wish list of your primary stakeholders who you would need to pull this off effectively. Think of those as your Dream team and even less specific names. Make sure every primary stakeholder is on the list. They should be any decision makers, anybody who is influenced by the project or its implementation, anybody who would need to make an investment and make sure you have the experts that you need on an ongoing basis included, and make a list of any secondary stakeholders who come to mind who can play an important supportive role or any stakeholders who might be involved. The only for a limited amount of time. Third list any of the rewards or benefits your stakeholders will receive from their participation in the project. Remember, the best stakeholder relationships are based upon the mutual exchange of value between and among the stakeholders. So for all your primary stakeholders, start by listing at least run one reward that you can see for them or you can facilitate if they come on board. Consider all of the various social, intellectual, cultural or material benefits you can steer toward them in some way. This is really important because all along the way, as your team project progresses, you can then look for ways to set your stakeholders up for and connect them with these benefits. This will get them engaged and keep them engaged throughout the entire project. Fourth, pick An ideal date for your first team meeting, and maybe it's a couple weeks from now, maybe a couple months from now. Only you know the best time to start. There's something about putting it on the calendar that makes it more real. And fifth, begin contacting your potential stakeholder team members, telling them about the project and inviting them to participate. And this is where you can use the earlier draft of your elevator pitch that we worked on in the class. So that's your project for this class. Fill in the available worksheet. They will give you your 1st 5 steps behind the scenes to kick off your stakeholder team project. Of course, you can revisit the other lessons as you move forward, and in the next and last video, I'll wrap it all up. I'll see you there 12. Wrap Up: Well, congratulations. You've completed the class. Great job. The ability to lead teams like we talked about in the class will instantly set you apart from most other professionals. Many of the people I know who get promoted quickly get there because they are good with groups and teams. So you have taken a great step in that direction. By taking this class, I want to finish with a quick word about the difference between theory and practice. Like any other skill. Leadership skills on Lee really take hold if you actually put them into practice. If this information stays at the level of just a theory, it will quickly fade away. So the sooner you apply the content and put it into practice, the better off you'll be and please feel free to rate and review the course. Also, I invite you to take a look at some of my other courses on communication, leadership and related topics. I mentioned an old African proverb at the beginning of the class that I want to revisit. If you want to go fast, run alone. If you want to go far run together, I encourage you to build a great team So your project goes the distance. It's been my pleasure to be your teacher. Take care and I hope to see you in another class.